The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released its latest unemployment data, and predictably, the numbers show a dramatic jump in the number of Australians now unemployed, many due to the pandemic.
For approximately 11 weeks, the virus has dominated our world, bringing many businesses to a grinding halt, choking down on others, and forcing all of us to make dramatic changes to the way we live our lives, in the interests of health and safety.
COVID-19 has claimed just over 100 lives here in Australia, and thankfully, our nation has been largely spared the incredibly heartbreaking loss of life that many other countries around the globe have experienced.
But one life is one too many.
The economic toll from the pandemic has been catastrophic, and the fact we have had less than 10 cased in our region, and none for roughly two months, means nothing when you consider the financial toll extracted from our economy.
The sombre ABS data shows our region's unemployment rate has increased by 8.1 per cent in eleven weeks to May 30, compared to a state average of nine per cent, and a national average of 7.5 per cent.
Neighbouring Ballarat has experienced a 7.3 per cent increase in its jobless rate in this period, Shepparton 7.6 per cent and the Hume region 6.8 per cent.
The numbers sadly, tell their own story.
They also highlight just how difficult the challenge is for the federal government and the national cabinet about how we manage the economy's delicate transition to a post-pandemic environment, whatever that might look like, and how we sensibly and sensitively wean Australians off the JobKeeper and JobSeeker supplement payments that have sustained so many Australians throughout this crisis.
A one-size fits all withdrawal might not be appropriate given the contrasting scenarios unfolding state by state.
Worrying also, is the commentary from many industry commentators that even worse numbers lie ahead as the coronavirus-inspired recession continues to bite into our economy, and more pointedly, into the lives of so many everyday Australians.
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