DIGEST

The Informer: An eyebrow-raising figure indeed

Unemployment did what in August?
Unemployment did what in August?

It was with a little raise of the collective eyebrow that Australia received the latest unemployment figures today.

The national jobless rate unexpectedly dropped in August as the recovery from the recession continued - even with Victoria in lockdown 2.0.

The jobless rate fell to 6.8 per cent in August from 7.5 per cent in July when the expectation was it would rise marginally.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said although the figures show Australia's economy is "remarkably resilient" and "fighting back", the road to recovery will still be "long, hard and bumpy".

That reality will become eminently more stark when coronavirus welfare payments are wound back even further. And that day is coming warned, Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Treasury expects the number of people on JobKeeper subsidies to reduce at the end of next week, when some companies are kicked off the scheme because they no longer meet business turnover-reduction tests.

The Morrison government plans to slash pandemic-boosted JobSeeker benefits by $300 at the end of next week. The payment is due to go back to the original Newstart allowance of $40 a day in December.

And while Australia must confront that economic (and social) conundrum, let's enjoy out some African ingenuity where the majority of people barely reach the international poverty line. Based on the value of goods needed to sustain one adult, that is considered to be $US1.90 - about $1.40 in Australia.

These "low-tech" wonders have helped communities in Africans countries cope as best they can with a global pandemic they are ill-equipped to face.

Kenyan schoolboy Stephen Wamukota earned himself a presidential award earlier this year for his wooden hand-washing machine designed to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

Stephen is nine. Check out the video from Kenya's Ministry of Health which features his ingenuity.

Ghanaian brothers Richard Kwarteng and Jude Osei also focused on something similar, a solar-powered hand-washing basin. When hands come into contact with a sensor on the device, soapy water is automatically released. An alarm goes off after 25 seconds of hand-washing - within the timescale recommended by the World Health Organisation.

In Nigeria 20-year-old engineering student Usman Dalhatu attempted to help meet the shortfall of respirators. He built a portable automatic ventilator to help people with respiratory problems - often a symptom of a severe coronavirus infection. He went on to build dozens more.

There's more, including the socially distanced haircut perfected by barbers in Ethiopia and the wooden money sanitising machine from Kenya. Great, uplifting stuff and proving once and for all that necessity really is the mother of invention - wherever you are.

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