The ABS released a special data release on the impact of the government restrictions on the labour market:
Between the week ending 14 March 2020 and the week ending 18 April 2020:
- Employee jobs decreased by 7.5%
- Total wages paid decreased by 8.2%
The release contains additional information including the impact by sector. Unsurprisingly, those sectors related to hospitality took the largest hit. Employee jobs in accommodation and food services decreased by 33.4% and arts and recreation services decreased by 27.0%. The least affected: utilities (-0.2%), finance (-1% – a surprise given the sell-off in markets) and education and training (-2%). Suprisingly, the public admin sector (often seen as a safe haven) saw a decline in employment of 5.1%, almost as high as the professional services sector (5.6%); lawyers, consultants, engineers, economists and the like.
Another interesting release was the monthly retail data, which captured the full effect of the shutdown in April. As expected, some components of retail suffered while others benefited. The overall washout was a gain of 8.5% (seasonally adjusted) in April. This likely reflects the stockpiling that occurred (toilet paper, canned food, rice/pasta etc) but also consumption of consumables (e.g. hand sanitiser etc). It also looks like the downtime was used for home improvement activities (household goods). The spike in other likely reflects increased spending at pharmacies.