How Australia’s job market has changed over COVID

Yesterday, the ABS released labour market data for the August quarter, which provides a good snapshot of how the jobs market has changed over the pandemic.

Australia lost 146,600 jobs over the August quarter as NSW, Victoria and the ACT were plunged into lockdowns. These losses were driven by Accommodation & Food Services (-65,000), followed by Education (-50,600), Arts & Recreation (-49,300) and Retail Trade (45,600). By contrast, Manufacturing (91,500) recorded a big lift in jobs over the quarter:

Since the COVID pandemic began (i.e. compared with February 2020), Australia has added 2,300 jobs. However, the distribution of these jobs is highly uneven.

As shown in the next chart, strong gains have been experienced across Public Administration & Safety (+86,800), Healthcare & Social Assistance (+83,400) and Manufacturing (+83,200), partly offset by especially large losses across Accommodation & Food Services (-115,100) and Construction (-60,000):

Finally, focusing on the Accommodation & Food Services industry, we can see that most jobs had been recovered by the May quarter, only to fall back again amid the latest round of lockdowns:

These results are matched by Indeed’s job postings data, which has recorded heavy falls across Hospitality & Tourism and food preparation since 30 June:

It will be a hard road back for this industry.

Unconventional Economist

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