Covid-19 Job Losses Ease Off


Across the country there was a steep drop in employment during the Covid-19 pandemic however job losses were starting to ease as businesses reopen.

Payroll jobs dropped by 7.3 per cent on average during the pandemic and wages by 5.4 per cent according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The impact of Covid-19 on employment tapered drastically between 25 April and 2 May where jobs decreased by only 1.1 per cent and wages by 0.9 per cent.

Some industries were hit worse than others including hospitality where jobs decreased by 27.1 per cent as well as arts and recreation service jobs which fell by 19 per cent.

Construction jobs dropped 5.6 per cent and real estate employment dropped 9.7 per cent while finance jobs remained steady.

Related: Home Sales Fall as 600,000 Jobs Lost During Pandemic

Australian job losses by industry during Covid-19

IndustrySub-divisionChange in Jobs
-Building Construction-5.4%
-Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction-3.8%
-Construction Services-6.2%
-Food and Beverage Services-32.6%
Retail trade-8.3%
-Motor vehicle-8.6%
-Fuel retailing7.3%
-Store based-10.9%
-Non-store and commission based buying/selling-13.3
Financial and insurance services0.6%
-Insurance and Superannuation Funds2.3%
-Auxiliary finance and insurance services1.3%
Property Operators and Real Estate Services-9.7%

^Source: ABS between 14 March and 18 April

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the week-to-week changes were much smaller than they were early in the Covid-19 period.

“The decrease in the number of jobs in the week ending 2 May was 1.1 per cent, which was only slightly larger than the 0.9 per cent increase in the week ending 25 April,” Jarvis said.

“The largest net job losses over the seven weeks of the Covid-19 period, in percentage terms, were in Victoria and New South Wales, where the falls in payroll jobs were around 8.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent.

“Payroll jobs worked by people under 20 continued to show the largest falls [-14.6 per cent], and were particularly high in some states and territories, such as the Australian Capital Territory [-19.2 per cent].”

ABS: Changes in payroll jobs and total wages


^Source: ABS/Commonwealth Bank

Since the Australia recorded its 100th Covid-19 case and 2 May jobs in Victoria went down by 8.4 per cent, NSW by -7.7 per cent and Queensland recorded -6.1 per cent.

Between 14 March and 2 May there Victorian jobs dropped 1.9 per cent, NSW by -1.8 per cent and Queensland jobs picked up by 0.6 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank analysts said the announcement of the job keeper program on 30 March may have helped limit further job losses however the unemployment rate to drop further.

“In terms of the economic outlook some parts of the economy are opening up a little earlier than the RBA’s base case scenario, and ours,” the analysts reported.

“We expect the unemployment rate to peak just be low 9 per cent due to how people are identified by the labour force survey and as the participation rate falls.”

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