ANU: Job and income losses halted, confidence rising

Average hours worked increased from 32.3 per week in April to 32.8 per week in May, according to a study by the Australian National University’s (ANU) Centre for Social Research and Methods.

The increase followed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and improved health results, with the study also finding that employment has levelled out at 58% and that the percentage of people who expect to lose their jobs over the next 12 months fell from 24.4% in April to 20.6% in May. However, the study also found that over 50% of Australians still remain anxious about the virus:

The data summarised in this paper comes from the second wave of the COVID-19 monitoring surveys collected in May 2020. It gives an indication that economic circumstances may have stabilised, and that subjective wellbeing outcomes for Australians are improving. Australians are far less anxious and worried about COVID-19, less likely to think they are going to be infected, are less lonely, and have higher levels of life satisfaction.

There has been neither an improvement nor a worsening in labour market outcomes, but Australians are far more positive about their labour market prospects in the future. There has been a continued decline in the per cent of Australians who think they could not get by on their current income, and small increases in income, particularly for those who were at the bottom of the income distribution prior to the spread of COVID-19…

The data shows that economic circumstances may have stabilised, and that subjective wellbeing outcomes for Australians are improving.

Green shoots continue, although there is a long way to go before the economy returns to ‘normal’.

Leith van Onselen
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