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(Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

The second half of May saw a small but potentially significant shift in the impact of the lockdown on employment, one that emerges from yesterday's worse-than-expected jobless numbers.

In April, women bore the brunt of the lockdown as majority-female industries like retail and accommodation and food services shut down. That meant 54% of the net jobs lost in April were women, on a seasonally adjusted basis, when normally they make up 47% of workers (albeit skewed more toward part-time). Female participation also fell by over 2.7 points, while male participation fell 1.9 points.

In May, men didn't catch up, but the tide began to turn: a net 118,000 female jobs were lost compared to 110,000 male jobs (in the original, rather than seasonally adjusted, numbers, lost jobs were almost evenly split). Male participation fell a further 0.8 points, while female participation fell 0.6 points.