Urban electorates hardest hit by COVID-19

The Grattan Institute has released research showing that electorates in urban areas are now the hardest hit by the COVID-19 economic shock, with Sydney and Melbourne hardest hit:

Our previous analysis of job losses to mid-April showed that rural electorates, particularly those in Queensland and NSW with large tourism industries, had lost a greater share of jobs than city electorates…

Now, new data to 30 May shows that previously hard-hit rural electorates recovered some of their lost jobs through May…

Job gains since mid-April have been strongest in hospitality and retail, which regained 7.3 and 3.4 per cent of the jobs lost since 14 March…

The new data show that nine of the 10 hardest hit electorates are now either inner- or outer-metropolitan…

Many of the-hardest hit electorates in urban areas have suffered further job losses since mid-April. One reason is the sharp fall in second jobs, which in part reflects the fact that JobKeeper payments are limited to a single job for an individual employee. People who live in inner-city electorates are more likely to hold multiple jobs…

These ‘second-round’ job losses may well intensify even as job losses from COVID-19 in sectors directly affected by spatial distancing continue to dissipate as the economy reopens…

Full report here.

Leith van Onselen


  1. what’s the point of showing data in terms of electorates with obscure names
    almost none outside the electorate with such name itself has no idea where it is

    why do we even name electorates after some past politicians of questionable morality, why not name electorates after its geographical location
    why Whitlam and Cunningham, not south and north Wollongong
    why Cook not Sutherland shire … ?

  2. Tassie TomMEMBER

    I’ve spent most of the last couple of months in Dubbo (in the seat of Parkes).

    Even though Parkes is about 1/3 of the way down NSW’s high-to-low of job losses at 6.7%, it didn’t feel that bad there.

    The hairdressers, waiting staff, hotel staff etc all lost a few weeks worth of work, but they’re mostly back in work now. The construction industry hasn’t really felt the second-order effects yet (their pipeline of work running dry), and the retail sector there is more staples or semi-staples (clothes, whitegoods etc rather than cars and artwork) and so is still in business. Agriculture and agricultural services haven’t been affected at all.

    The supermarkets all had their hand sanitiser on entry and their 1.5 metre stickers on the ground, but nobody really cared about social distancing (customers or staff). Which was friendly, and which also didn’t matter because there hasn’t been a new case in Dubbo for about 11 weeks.

    There isn’t really the consumer economy there, where everyone relies on everyone spending money on everyone else so that everyone has money to spend on the next person. Yes, consumption is important, but it’s more “staple consumption”, if you include haircuts and getting your car serviced as “staple”. The drought (which has now largely broken) was a much bigger economic headwind than the Coronavirus seems to have been so far.

    If the banks get in trouble and there is a credit crunch and drops in land prices (agricultural and residential), then things could very well change. But I can absolutely understand how the cities with all their supereconomy jobs like advertising and airport workers and nightclub workers would be more affected than the regions at this point in time.