Job losses taper off but tourist regions hit hard
The mass job shedding since the start of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have stabilised but some domestic tourist hotspots face a long struggle back after losing more than one in 10 workers.
Special payroll data collated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that between mid-March and the start of May, 7.3 per cent of jobs – more than 900,000 – were lost across the country.
Regions Worst Hit
It was a slight improvement on the previous ABS report, which showed 7.5 per cent of jobs disappeared between March 14 and April 18 after vast sections of the economy were shut down to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Morrison government's $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme helped mitigate the drop-off in jobs, with income down 5.4 per cent in the period to May 2, improving from a fall of more than 8 per cent up to April 18.
Despite the stabilisation, every part of Australia has suffered job losses, with some areas that rely on the tourism sector shedding more than 10 per cent of jobs.
The hardest hit part of Australia has been the NSW Mid North Coast, where the ABS estimates 11.8 per cent of jobs have gone. In the neighbouring area around Coffs Harbour and Grafton, 11.2 per cent of positions have vanished. Coffs Harbour in NSW has been one of regions hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.Other regions taking substantial blows include the Sunshine Coast (down 10.2 per cent), South Australia's Barossa Valley region (9.6 per cent), Cairns (9.1 per cent) and the West Australian centre of Bunbury (8.5 per cent).
Both central Sydney (down 8.9 per cent) and inner Melbourne (down 7.8 per cent) have suffered larger job losses than their respective states. Asia-Pacific chief economist Callam Pickering said the figures suggested the worst was behind the jobs market.
"Employment appeared to have stabilised in late April/early May. With restrictions being lifted, a recovery can begin, provided we avoid a damaging second wave," he said. "But the path to recovery won't be straightforward and it won't be quick. There will not be an immediate snap-back to pre-crisis conditions. The economic damage caused by COVID-19 is considerable for households and businesses alike."
The ABS figures point to the way in which the response to the pandemic, plus global factors, has affected particular types of jobs. The biggest drop in employment has been in the oil and gas sector, down by more than 40 per cent, in part due to the collapse in global oil prices.
Heavy losses have also been recorded in the accommodation sector (down 30.8 per cent), food and beverage services (down 32.8 per cent) while the adult and community education sector has lost a quarter of its workforce.
But other areas have seen a lift in employment. Jobs in the library and information services sector have climbed by a nation-best 10.6 per cent, internet publishing employment is up by 9.8 per cent while residential care worker numbers have climbed by 6.1 per cent.
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Originally published: https://www.smh.com.au