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Australia went into the coronavirus calamity with an economic record that was the envy of the world — a three-decade run without a recession. Now there's a risk that any strong recovery will give policymakers a false sense of security. This would be a grave misreading of the situation. The worst decision they can make would be withdrawing government support too quickly.

The damage from the lockdown is staggering. Bloomberg Economics expects GDP could drop 6% in 2020, and doesn’t see activity returning to pre-virus levels for a couple of years. This pain is nowhere more evident than in the labour market: more people lost their jobs in April than any other month on record...

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