The jobless rate jumped to 7.1 percent in May following the loss of 227,700 posts, which was nearly three times more than forecast and followed a more than 600,000 fall the month before, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
New Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed 227,700 people lost their job or threw in the towel looking for one last month, following the 2nd full month of coronavirus shutdowns.
"A combined group of around 2.3 million people - around 1 in 5 employed people - were affected by either job loss between April and May or had less hours than usual for economic reasons in May", said Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labor statistics, noted Bloomberg.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the numbers were not surprising given the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The unemployment rate jumped to 8.1 per cent in WA, up from 6.1 per cent in April. Young people, youth employment, making up 45 per cent of those jobs lost in May.
Participation plunged by 0.7 points to 62.9%, the lowest since 2001, as people saw little hope in finding jobs.
Australia-wide, unemployment was 7.1 per cent, seasonally adjusted, up 0.9 percentage points on April.
Young Australians are being screwed over by the COVID-19-induced recession, with 329,000 people under 25 now unemployed.
The ABS says if all the 835,000 who had lost their job in the past two months were still actively seeking work, the jobless rate would have been 11.3 percent.
"We know there will be more in the months ahead".
The Australian dollar slipped after the data was released to as low as 68.36 United States cents.
The change is expected to be contained in a July 23 economic statement, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg again and again stressing the doubling of JobSeeker was temporary.
Full-time employment was down 3.1 per cent on the level of February, before social distancing restrictions became enforced, while part-time jobs were 13.7 per cent lower.
"We retain the view that unemployment will continue to push higher, peaking just above nine percent in (the second half of 2020)", Kennedy said in a note to clients.
"I indicated that the unemployment rate I think does understate where things are on the ground", he said.
"While devastated by the number, I am sadly not surprised", Morrison told reporters in Canberra, adding that jobs for young people should be the first to bounce back.