New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that while around 35 per cent of payroll jobs initially lost as a result of the coronavirus have since been regained, total payroll jobs at the end of last month were still 5.7 per cent below mid-March when Australia recorded its 100th COVID-19 case.
However, the stats do point to considerable improvements, with payroll jobs rising by 3.3 per cent since the low in mid-April.
Looking at the data across the states, Victoria has been most impacted since the week ended 14 March, with payroll jobs decreasing by 6.6 per cent.
However, things are predicted to get worse for Victoria given the state’s recent return to lockdown, with businesses across Melbourne forced to shut their doors for at least six weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
According to the ABS, NSW is holding up best among the states, having lost 5 per cent of payroll jobs since the crisis started in March.
Other data gained from payroll records points to a recovery in jobs worked by females through June; however, total female job losses since mid-March were still greater, at 6 per cent, compared to 5.4 per cent for males.
Payroll jobs worked by people under 20 recovered more than for any other age group through June, increasing by 11.3 per cent.
“By mid-April, job losses for people under 20 were around 23 per cent, but by the end of June, this had reduced to around 5 per cent,” said Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS.
Looking at the individual industries, accommodation and food services remained the industry hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, losing up to 21.2 per cent of payroll jobs from 14 March to 27 June.
Although at the end of June businesses in accommodation and food services did see a 0.4 of a percentage point rebound, the industry as a whole remained well below the pre-crisis data.
Not far behind sat the arts and recreation services industry, having lost 18.1 per cent of jobs since mid-March.
Late last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the government is worried about allowing the JobSeeker payment to become an impediment to work.
“We are getting a lot of anecdotal feedback from small businesses, even large businesses, where some of them are finding it hard to get people to come and take the shifts because they’re on these higher levels of payment,” Mr Morrison said at the time.
On Monday, the Treasurer confirmed these sentiments, explaining in a press conference that Australia’s effective unemployment rate is double the official jobless level, because it includes people who have decided against searching for work.
“That is around 13.3 per cent right now,” Josh Frydenberg told the media.
He has also confirmed that Victoria’s lockdown will significantly hurt the economy by wiping out $1 billion each week.