Australia’s economy, jobs market looks set for another remarkable rebound as lockdowns lift

If you needed to personify Australia’s labour market in the intervening time, it could look and sound quite a bit just like the Black Knight of Monty Python fame.


Lock down the nation’s greatest metropolis for greater than 100 days? “‘Tis but a scratch.”

Put the second largest metropolis into lockdown for the sixth time? “It’s just a flesh wound.”

Add within the nation’s capital, plus lockdowns throughout regional NSW and Victoria over latest months? “I’m invincible.”

Despite lacking a number of of its limbs for weeks on finish, Australia’s economic system stays defiant.

Unemployment rose in September, however solely to 4.6 per cent. Other than the earlier month’s 4.5 per cent, it is the lowest determine the ABS has recorded for the reason that world monetary disaster of 2008.

However, just like the Black Knight, the injuries to Australia’s jobs market are important.

An estimated 138,000 folks misplaced employment final month, on prime of 146,000 the month earlier than that.

A closed sign in a shopfront window.
Tens of 1000’s of companies had been shut in September as a result of public well being orders.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

The solely cause that official unemployment stays so low is that 333,000 folks gave up wanting for work over the three months to September — hardly stunning provided that for many individuals their occupations have been quickly regulated out of existence as a result of public well being orders.

AMP Capital senior economist Diana Mousina says, while you think about these folks as effectively as others employed however working zero hours, the efficient unemployment charge final month was round 7.6 per cent.

Diana Mousina smiling
Diana Mousina says the efficient jobless charge final month was 7.6 per cent.

That sounds horrible, and is, nevertheless it is not as unhealthy as the 14.9 per cent efficient unemployment charge seen when the entire nation was locked down from the tip of March final yr.

“The fall in employment hasn’t been as large compared to 2020 because not all the states and territories have been in a prolonged lockdown, COVID-19 is less of an unknown, re-opening plans (based on projected vaccination rates) gave businesses a plan which assisted with staff retainment and government payments have again come to the rescue in supporting incomes,” Ms Mousina notes.

Job losses not as unhealthy as feared

Even so, many economists had feared a lot worse, particularly within the absence of JobKeeper.

CBA’s head of Australian economics Gareth Aird was certainly one of them. 

He says there at the moment are indicators that, not solely has the harm throughout the lockdowns been smaller than anticipated, the rebound in employment must be strong as restrictions lift.

“Job vacancies have held up well during the lockdowns,” he stated.

“Our expectation at this stage is that employment will post a small negative in the October labour force survey, followed by a bounce of around 150,000 in the November report. Another strong outcome is anticipated in December as Victoria reopens.”

With NSW largely reopening this week, you could surprise why the October employment numbers are anticipated to be weak.

That’s as a result of the Bureau of Statistics’s reference interval for these figures ended on October 9, so all of the retail, hospitality, recreation and private service employees coming again to work on October 11 will not be counted as employed for that month.

It’s another statistical quirk which means the month-to-month jobs figures will not paint a well timed full image of what is occurring within the economic system.

But a lot of these staff additionally will not but be counted as again within the labour power and, by the point they’re in November, they’ll doubtless already be again in work.

“It now looks likely that the unemployment rate will have remained below 5 per cent during the lockdown period,” says Gareth Aird.

So, whereas Australia’s labour market could share many issues in widespread with the Black Knight, it looks like it does possess a real skill to regrow its limbs and combat on.

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