Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen for the seventh consecutive month to pre-pandemic levels, according to labour force data released on Thursday.

The data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that unemployment rate fell from 5.5 per cent in April to 5.1 per cent in May, reports Xinhua news agency.

The number of employed Australians increased by about 115,000 between April and May.

“The unemployment rate fell to 5.1 per cent, which was below March 2020 (5.3 per cent) and back to the level in February 2020 (5.1 per cent),” ABS head of labor statistics Bjorn Jarvis said in a statement.

The declining unemployment rate continues to align with the strong increases in job vacancies, according to Jarvis.

“The number of unemployed people has fallen by around 303,000 since the peak of 1 million unemployed people in July 2020,” he said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the data was a validation of the government’s economic recovery plan.

“There is a long way to go but the Australian economy is recovering strongly,” he told reporters here on Thursday.

The total number of hours worked by Australians increased by 1.4 per cent between April and May to 2.9 per cent higher than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 115,000 people who started work, 69,000 were female.

“The increase in female employment in May means that a higher percentage of women were in paid work than ever before, 58.8 per cent, 0.7 percentage points higher than the start of the pandemic,” Jarvis added.

–IANS

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