New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on jobs in the region.
New data reveals the number of people employed in the City of Greater Shepparton, Moira Shire and Campaspe Shire declined by 4063 between February and May this year.
However, according to researchers at Rural Councils Victoria the number of people employed is expected to decline further if the JobKeeper program runs out as planned at the end of September.
“Many people who might otherwise have been made unemployed may be on JobKeeper,” said researcher Kathleen Hurley from Rural Councils Victoria.
“Those on JobKeeper and JobSeeker may not be ‘looking for work’, but are technically still connected to the labour market.
“When the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes are concluded, there may be a surge in the number of people unemployed and looking for work,” Dr Hurley said.
The data also revealed the number of people employed outside Melbourne combined during this time fell by a total of 20,800.
Rural Councils Victoria chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said the data was a major blow to rural communities.
“Research by Rural Councils Victoria shows that a job in a rural town with 1000 people or less has 37 times greater positive impact on local economies than a job in a regional city with a population of 100,000 or more,” Cr Brown said.
The data comes after Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said the government would make an announcement regarding the JobKeeper program during the third week of July.
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