SYDNEY, June 16 (Reuters) – Australian payrolls began to gradually pick up in May after record falls seen the previous month, though jobs were still down sharply compared to mid-March before coronavirus lockdowns shut much of the economy.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported payroll jobs rose 0.4% in the final week of May, compared to the previous week, and were up 1% for the whole month.
Jobs were still 7.5% lower than in mid-March, but that compared to a drop of 8.9% in mid-April which was the peak of the decline.
Total wages paid increased by 0.7% in the final week of May, compared to the previous week, but were still down 8.3% from mid-March.
There had been just over 13 million people counted as employed in early March before the lockdowns, while the jobless rate had been steady at 5.2%. That rose to 6.2% in April and figures for May due later this week are forecast to show a further increase to 7%.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole Editing by Shri Navaratnam)