The Riverina's economic recovery has slowed down significantly with just 20 fewer people receiving JobSeeker unemployment payments last month.
The rate at which Wagga and the Riverina's jobless numbers declined was more than ten times higher in April, at about 11 per cent for the region and the city, but that has now slowed to less than one per cent.
The new numbers covered only a few days of the latest restrictions in regional NSW and lockdowns in Greater Sydney, which came in near the end of June.
Last month there were 5675 people who received JobSeeker payments in the Riverina, including 2587 in Wagga.
The last measurement before the pandemic showed 4858 people receiving unemployment payments across the Riverina, including 2237 in Wagga.
Business NSW Murray-Riverina regional manager Anthony McFarlane said there would be two major factors affecting the JobSeeker numbers after the lockdowns.
"With the June result, I'm not surprised that it has plateaued ... There are no doubt structural reasons for why the June JobSeeker number is not reducing further," he said.
"The federal government has announced that from the first of July the Murray-Riverina would be allocated funding under the Local Jobs Program which seeks to address structural issues in unemployment with a focus on reskilling and upskilling.
"But now looking at what was happened with the Greater Sydney lockdown, the Victorian border closure and the restrictions on regional NSW, I would expect two things: the JobSeeker number will likely go up for the month of July and probably August if restrictions continue."
Mr McFarlane said the number disaster payments taken up by Riverina residents would likely influence the region's jobless numbers.
"The disaster payments might mask a bigger unemployment problem going forward if that payment is used in replacement of JobSeeker," he said.
"I understand you can't get a disaster payment if you are receiving JobSeeker and at the moment the disaster payment is greater than the JobSeeker payment."
In other news
The Riverina has seen months since the first pandemic lockdown when very few people declared they no longer needed JobSeeker, such as March when just three people overall stopped Centrelink payments.
Riverina MP Michael McCormack said the national unemployment rate at a ten-year low of 4.9 per cent and a reported 69,300 job vacancies in regional Australia were good signs for the economy.
"As more and more people get into work and fewer people require welfare, the rates of people on JobSeeker will plateau as the unemployment rate moves closer to zero," he said.
"The federal government will continue to monitor the current COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Sydney and will consider further support where and when it is needed, as we have done throughout this pandemic."
Labor Senator for the Riverina, Deborah O'Neill, said the federal government had made a "piecemeal" offering with its disaster payments compared to the situation in NSW.
"Hour one of day one of lockdown is when people start losing work and money. That's when the help has to kick in - not three weeks later," she said.
"People don't have savings to cover the lockdown costs from their own bank balance while the government shuts its own wallet and delays for weeks.
This failure of a Government just don't understand that if they stop you running your business, if they stop you going to work, if they stop you from getting JobKeeper or JobSeeker, they have to actually make sure your own tax payers dollars you've handed over all these years come back to you immediately to keep a roof over your head and food on the table."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: