Victorians brace for mass unemployment


I reported on Tuesday how SEEK’s latest jobs report points to a significant increase in Australia’s unemployment rate.

The number of job ads reported by SEEK fell by 17.1% over the year to June and is now tracking at pre-pandemic levels, whereas the number of applicants per job ad has risen way above pre-COVID levels:

Seek employment summary

Based on historical relationships, both of SEEK’s series point to significantly higher unemployment:

Australian unemployment versus job adsUnemployment versus job applications

SEEK’s data followed Yarra Capital Chief Economist Tim Toohey’ warning on Monday that strong net overseas migration is displacing local workers, which could send the unemployment rate soaring.

“Net migration is currently supplying 1.4 people for every new job created”, he said.


“Unless policymakers achieve a better balance between total employment and non-migrant employment growth, hard won gains in the labour market could quickly reverse”.

Justin Fabo at Antipodean Macro posted the following chart plotting SEEK’s job ad series by state:

SEEK job ads by state

As you can see, NSW and Victoria have experienced the sharpest decline in job ads among the major states, with ads tracking below the pre-pandemic level.


The above is especially problematic for Victoria, which already has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.4% as of May:

Unemployment rates

The next chart plots SEEK’s employment data for Victoria, which has both job ads and applications tracking at worse levels than the nation as a whole:

SEEK Victorian jobs data

Both series are pointing to even sharper rises in unemployment in Victoria:

Victoria unemployment vs job adsVictoria unemployment vs job applications

The SEEK data comes at the same time as the latest NAB Business Survey, released on Tuesday, showed that Victoria has the weakest business conditions in the nation:

NAB business conditions

Perhaps Victorians should brace for mass unemployment?

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.