SYDNEY, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The number of unemployed Australians topped one million for the first time ever during the month of July amid the COVID-19 pandemic despite almost 115,000 jobs being created during the same period, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Thursday.
Between June and July, the national unemployment rate rose from 7.4 percent to 7.5 percent, an increase of 15,700 people, reaching its highest level percentage-wise since 1998, as businesses struggled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, some economists suggested the real rate of unemployment was closer to 10 percent as the official figures did not include the number of people who were not working but relying on government wage subsidy programs such as JobKeeper.
"Without JobKeeper, the ABS estimates that the unemployment rate would be 0.8 percentage points higher, and adding in those people that have lost their job and exited the workforce since March, the rate rises to around 10 percent," Sarah Hunter from BIS Oxford Economics told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In a recent update, the Reserve Bank of Australia outlined a "baseline scenario" where the country's unemployment rate will reach 10 percent by the end of the year, and gradually decline to around seven percent over the following years.