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Australia Unemployment Could Hit 12% in Fastest Slump Since WWII

A pedestrian holding an umbrella walks past the closed Sydney Opera House stands in Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Australia's parliament rushed through more than A$80 billion ($46.3 billion) in fiscal stimulus for the coronavirus-stricken economy at a special sitting in Canberra on March 23.
Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Australia’s jobless rate could soar to around 12% and the economy contract 5% in the second quarter -- and a further fall in the three months after that would bring the fastest decline in activity since World War II, according to National Australia Bank Ltd.

“The nature of this shock is of course very different to traditional recessions -- in particular, there is hardly any lag between falling output and employment,” Alan Oster, chief economist at NAB, said in a research note Friday. He estimates gross domestic product would contract by 3% in 2020, but rebound to 3.5% the following year.