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A world of work

By David Hale - posted Thursday, 11 June 2020

We are spoilt in a way, and so when the general unemployment rate goes up, we take notice. When, if we become unemployed, we really take notice.

There was a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald noting that it had never really been this bad. Due to the shut-down of businesses before the easing, the unofficial unemployment rate, more accurate than the general rate, went through the roof.

Well, it has never been this bad for those doing well before the pandemic.


it is worth remembering for other people, long before the pandemic there was high unemployment.

In rural Queensland, the official unemployment rate in 2018, about 14%. Not to mention the higher unofficial rate.  In Moreton Bay-North, the official rate was 9.4%.

In fact, there are multiple places around the country where the rate was and is higher than the general rate. Unfortunately for those unemployed people before the pandemic, there was no doubling of unemployment benefits or the JobKeeper.

Internationally, we may not get too much sympathy.

In Namibia, long before this pandemic, their rate of unemployment was 33.4%, in Dec 2018.  

Angola had a slightly lower rate, their unemployment rate in Dec 2019, 31.8%. These numbers are from Trading Economics and may not include all those unemployed.  


We may also not get too much sympathy from America, even before the pandemic. The number of workers that got laid off in 2018, 21.9 million. They probably could share what it was like to get laid off before lays-off got the attention they get now.  

People in South Africa may like to swap places with us, with or without our pandemic induced unemployment increase. As the rate of unemployment in South Africa, in Dec 2019, 29.1%.

So, as we reflect on how important it is to have work in Australia, or to get back to work, let us do other things as well.

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About the Author

David Hale is an Anglican University Lay Chaplain, staff worker for the Australian Student Christian Movement and a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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