The coronavirus-driven jobs crisis is hitting Tasmanian women particularly hard, Labor says.
Ways would need to be found to help women back into the workforce as the pandemic restrictions eased, Labor's Michelle O'Byrne said.
Ms O'Byrne said the latest jobs data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed "women are doing it especially tough, with women's unemployment increasing by more than men in the state's Greater Hobart, West and North-West regions".
"Women are also over-represented in jobs affected by the ongoing need for social distancing, such as retail and hospitality, which have a highly casualised workforce.
"So, these figures underline the need to ensure women are included in the economic restart plan.
"While the government's infrastructure program is important and will help the recovery, these jobs are predominantly held by men.
"As we start easing back the pandemic restrictions, we need to take the opportunity to do things better and find ways to support women back into the workforce."
ABS figures based on payroll data suggested Tasmania shed about 20,500 jobs between March 14 and April 18 as the lockdown took hold, but regained about 2000 in the following two weeks.
Ms O'Byrne said the latest figures showed underemployment (employed people who want more hours and are available to work them) had skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.
"The unemployment rate in Tasmania is forecast to exceed 12 per cent and 20,000 jobs have been lost across the state since mid-March," she said.
"On top of this, we have figures today showing Tasmanians worked 1.1 million fewer hours in April, compared to March.
"We also can't forget the numerous businesses that will not be helped by the partial reopening of the economy: businesses like those in the tourism and hospitality industries where a 10-customer limit will fail to provide enough income to cover operational costs."
She said those businesses would likely take the longest to recover from the restrictions and many small businesses would need ongoing support to stay afloat.
"With many of these businesses dependent upon JobKeeper payments, Labor again urges the Premier to lobby his federal Liberal colleagues to extend the JobKeeper scheme beyond September," Ms O'Byrne said.
"We need to give those industries and regions worst affected by COVID-19 time to recover so as many jobs as possible can be saved, and we need to rebuild our economy by delivering diversity and a sustainable recovery."
She said the massive decline in hours worked underlined the need for a strategic new approach to re-growing the economy.
'IN GOOD STEAD'
Premier Peter Gutwein said: "The economic impact that COVID-19 is having on the Australian and Tasmanian economy following swift measures taken to save lives is challenging and not unexpected."
"Rebuilding our economy and budget from the mess Labor left it in was a significant challenge which we overcame, delivering budget surpluses and taking Tasmania to the fastest growing economy in the country ...
"What's more, before the pandemic hit in March, CommSec found that our economy was equal first in the nation, the ANZ Stateometer released today (Thursday) found we were the only state with above-trend growth, and accelerating, and the Sensis Business Survey released earlier this week found Tasmania continued to be the most confident state for businesses just before the pandemic hit.
"While we have not sugar-coated the impact COVID-19 has had on our state, the strong position of our budget prior to the pandemic stands us in good stead for recovery."
Progressive think tank Per Capita said the April labour force figures showed youth unemployment jumped to 13.8 per cent and the number of Australians abandoning the labour market rose by an unprecedented 2.4 per cent.
"That is almost half a million people who are not only out of work, but have stopped looking for a job altogether," it said.
"Perhaps most sobering was the steep rise in underemployment; the month-on-month increase to April was 50 per cent, or over 600,000 people.
"Just under 15 per cent of the Australian workforce is now underemployed.
"Combined with the unemployment rate, Australia now has a labour force underutilisation rate of 19.9 per cent ..."
Before the pandemic, Per Capita said, "the significant slack in the Australian labour market was suppressing wages and productivity and leading to a crisis of insecure work".
"Over the last half-decade, Australia's unemployment rate has been significantly higher than those of comparable developed nations, while our underemployment rate was amongst the highest in the OECD."
Per Capita was to release a discussion paper on the economic cost of underemployment in Australia, titled Slack in the System, on Friday.
"Underemployment has become one of the greatest drags on our economy, stifling wages and consumption, fuelling the productivity crisis and ruining careers," the paper's author, Matthew Lloyd-Cape, said.
"We simply cannot afford to snap back to an economy where over a million workers cannot find enough hours.
"Tackling underemployment must be placed front and centre of the post-COVID economic reconstruction."