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RBA: "The Australian economy is going through a very difficult period and is
experiencing the biggest contraction since the 1930s. Since March, an
unprecedented 800,000 people have lost their jobs, with many others retaining
their job only because of government and other support programs. Conditions
have, however, stabilised recently and the downturn has been less severe than
earlier expected. While total hours worked in Australia continued to decline in
May, the decline was considerably smaller than in April and less than previously
thought likely. There has also been a pick-up in retail spending in response to
the decline in infections and the easing of restrictions in most of the country.
Notwithstanding the signs of a gradual improvement, the nature and speed of the
economic recovery remains highly uncertain. Uncertainty about the health
situation and the future strength of the economy is making many households and
businesses cautious, and this is affecting consumption and investment plans. The
pandemic is also prompting many firms to reconsider their business models. As
some businesses rehire workers as demand returns, others are restructuring their