Australia expects unemployment to peak near 10% after COVID-19 shutdowns


Adds details on effective unemployment rate, quote from prime minister

SYDNEY, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Unemployment in Australia will peak at about 10% as a result of restrictions designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.

Australia previously saw unemployment hitting a high of 9.25% this year. But after Victoria, the country's second-most populous state, ordered a six-week lockdown around Melbourne, unemployment will peak at about 10%, Morrison said.

The figure would climb when the number of people receiving the government's wage subsidy scheme were counted.

The effective rate of unemployment was estimated to climb to more than 13% after previously expecting a high of around 11%.

"That is very troubling but it is not unexpected," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"These measures will have a very significant cost, and it will impact the recovery path."

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Tom Hogue and Stephen Coates)

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