The number of people receiving the equivalent of JobSeeker in the electorate of Bass increased by over 50 per cent from December to May, figures released by the Parliamentary Library reveal.
In May, 7957 people in Bass - which takes in Launceston and the North East - were on JobSeeker, compared with 5271 on the equivalent Newstart and Sickness Allowance in December.
On Wednesday morning, there were just over 300 jobs available on Seek for the broader Launceston region.
Lyons, which takes in a substantial region of central Tasmania, had the fastest increase in JobSeeker recipients of any Tasmanian electorate.
The federal government will provide an update next Thursday on whether the rate of JobSeeker - which doubled Newstart to $1100 per fortnight due to the coronavirus - would be reduced or wound back to its initial levels, or extended beyond its planned conclusion at the end of September.
Charitable organisations are urging the level of JobSeeker to be retained, fearing that the unemployment crisis stemming from the coronavirus would continue well beyond September.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Tasmanian Liberal senator Claire Chandler said she would not preempt the Prime Minister and Treasurer's announcement planned for July 23.
"We need to be doing everything we can to ensure that businesses and individuals are receiving the support that they need moving on from the end of September," she said.
"We know that the economic crisis is not through the worst of it yet, so we need to be thinking about what that looks like going forward.
"We need to be making sure that we're doing everything that we can to get businesses back open and back employing Tasmanians ... so that means making sure that we follow health advice and that we have appropriate and sensible restrictions in place that enable our businesses to go about their work as much as possible."
Archer retains support for increased JobSeeker above pre-COVID levels
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer has confirmed that she still opposes reducing JobSeeker back to its pre-COVID levels.
Ms Archer has written to and met with Social Services Minister Anne Ruston to discuss her views on social support, including the reality of those living on Newstart, which became JobSeeker.
Ms Archer said she would be disappointed if the rate reduced to pre-COVID levels of $550 per fortnight for individuals.
"It's definitely my view that there needs to be a more phased reduction. I think it's also unreasonable that it would remain at double the rate," she said.
"I feel that we need broader social security reform and I think that this pandemic situation has provided an opportunity for that to occur, as well as looking at an increased rate of JobSeeker, also looking at all of the things that sit around that.
"I don't personally think it would be reasonable to go back to the pre-COVID rate."
Tasmania far from worst in increase in JobSeeker recipients
The Parliamentary Library data showed that the number of people receiving JobSeeker grew the fastest in south-east Queensland, western Sydney and Melbourne's west.
Overall, ACT had a 125 per cent increase from December to May, Victoria increased 117 per cent and NSW increase 111 per cent. Tasmanian JobSeeker recipient rates increased by 62 per cent - the second lowest, behind Northern Territory.
Tasmanian Labor senator Helen Polley said the economic headwinds would continue, particularly as the second wave of coronavirus pushes back travel from mainland states, and so the government should act accordingly.
"Obviously there's not an endless cash line for the federal government, but at the moment, with the pandemic and what's happening in Victoria and without us being able to open up our borders, cutting that money is going to be devastating for those individuals when there's just not going to be any jobs," she said.
"The business community can't start reemploying people when our tourism sector is so reliant on interstate and international visitors.
"Labor hasn't looked at any particular figure at this point, but our strong belief is that we have got to keep supporting the community, and the way that JobSeeker and JobKeeper is keeping families in their own homes should continue."