The world is experiencing a massive economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic. Resulting unemployment and socioeconomic disruption have the potential to lead to a major upswing in the population rate of suicide in Europe and elsewhere. We assessed the association between midlife suicide rates and unemployment for Australia. For the midlife group we found a rapid decrease in the rate from 1970s to 1980s, but a more apparent increase after 2007. The increased male suicide rate coincided with the 2008 global financial crisis. The relationship between worsening employment outcomes, including suicide, is a great tragedy and deserves urgent further investigation.