The unemployment figures are frightening but the government is selling its ability to help people through the crisis. Labor says too many are being left behind.

According to Philip Lowe, such numbers will only deteriorate further with the Reserve Bank predicting last month a 20 per cent fall in hours worked over the first half of this year.
These are truly massive shifts that are not even more shocking because more than 6 million people across 860,000 businesses are now on JobKeeper payments.
Despite the frantic efforts of businesses and governments, a lot of those jobs wont be there when these payments end in September. A lot of them arent really there now other than in theory. Perhaps that reality may temper some government backbenchers enthusiasm for suggesting winding back the program ahead of time due to the $130 billion cost.
Recovery remains a policy work in very slow progress. The politics are more immediately obvious.
But the government is actually more concerned for the moment to ensure theres no political traction for Labors criticism of JobKeeper for not going far enough. Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg justified their original decision to exclude casuals who have worked with the same employer for less than a year by saying the line had to be drawn somewhere. This line particularly affected more people employed in areas like the arts and hospitality industries so devastated by the shutdown, while other extremely part-time but long-term casuals on a shift or two a week have seen their incomes jump.
So Labor is accusing the government of deliberately leaving too many people behind, including the most vulnerable, while giving some an absurd and undeserved increase from the taxpayer wage subsidy.
Morrison dismisses issues raised at the margin of an incredibly efficient program that is demand driven although reiterating a review will proceed next month as always planned.
But the augmented JobSeeker of $1100 a fortnight relative to JobKeepers $1500 a fortnight which is taxed means the overall savings from excluding so many casuals are not as significant as headline figures suggest. It also means the official jobless figures are that much higher, along with the psychological impact of officially joining the ranks of the unemployed. There are now 1.6 million of those relative to the 6 million on JobKeeper out of a total workforce of 13 million.
Queues outside Centrelink were a stark early sign of Australia’s coronavirus unemployment woes.  Jason South
The Prime Minister didn’t try to downplay the significance of the numbers, describing Thursday as a very tough day that would disappoint hope and break hearts. But he strongly defended the resilience of the Australian character as well as the governments preparedness to help restore that sense of hope.
“We anticipated that this would be the impact, and so we did not wait to put in place the economic support and lifelines that would be needed,” he said, Yet although he cited the rise in confidence evident as restrictions are eased and the virus contained, he knows Australians seeing the road ahead wont translate into enough activity to alter the grim economic trajectory ahead.
The Business Council of Australia says the labour force numbers show every choice made over the next six months must be focused on whether it will get people back to work safely and create new jobs or give people the skills they need to find one.
This remains a policy work in very slow progress. The politics are more immediately obvious.
Scott Morrison, along with state premiers, is attracting strong community support for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, bolstered by Australias remarkably successful record in suppressing the spread of the virus.
A worsening economy will inevitably test that support over coming months if theres any sense the government is not doing enough to protect its citizens from the ravages of jobs and incomes lost. The Coalition usually holds an electoral edge in “economic management” and Josh Frydenberg said this week Australians appreciate there’s “no money tree”. But voters also need to have confidence in the government’s plan on the ground.
This is the chink in Morrison’s armour that Anthony Albanese is targeting and will hope to widen in the byelection in the NSW regional seat of Eden-Monaro expected late next month.
Naturally, the government dismisses any criticism of its approach to the economic crisis as a low-rent return to the old politics of division. And for now at least, the depth and breadth of the carnage means voters are even more turned off by a lack of national cohesion and co-operation making Labors route back to any political relevance even more awkward to manoeuvre.
But as JobKeeper payments reach their scheduled end in September, along with the supplement for unemployment benefits, the governments own road ahead is also likely to look more like a briar patch.