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The upward trajectory of Australians relying on welfare support is expected to surge across the year. (Bigstock)

More than 900,000 Australians are relying on jobless welfare support payments, as new research reveals one in three small businesses is reporting severe financial hardship and struggling to pay their power bills. Source: The Australian.

Amid new Reserve Bank warnings of a 14th rate hike and concerns over inflation and labour market outlooks, Department of Social Services data shows the number of JobSeeker and Youth Allowance (Other) recipients has spiked by almost 75,000 since hitting post-pandemic lows in September.

For the first time in 12-months, JobSeeker and Youth Allowance recipients at the end of April soared above 900,000 as the unemployment rate rose to 4.1 per cent last month. The largest trend increases are among younger Australians and those on JobSeeker for less than a year.

With Telstra on Tuesday announcing it would cut up to 2800 jobs, more mining companies mothballing operations and employers reducing hours, the upward trajectory of Australians relying on welfare support is expected to surge across the year.

RBA board minutes released on Tuesday revealed the central bank had considered the case for a 14th rate hike before ultimately deciding to keep the cash rate on hold at 4.35 per cent.

Amid Treasury forecasts that the labour market will continue weakening due to high interest rates and sticky inflation, a new survey warned that small businesses are under more financial and energy hardship strain than during the pandemic.

Research commissioned by Energy Consumers Australia and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, involving interviews with more than 400 small business operators, reveals smaller employers are being hammered by high energy bills.

The new analysis – focused on small business transition to net zero emissions – found more than one in three small to medium enterprises had experienced energy hardship in the past 12 months (34 per cent), which was more than under the impact of post-Covid lockdowns.


Jobless welfare surges as small firms shocked (By Geoff Chambers, The Australian