News Coronavirus Employment holds steady as pandemic support payments end: ANU study

Employment holds steady as pandemic support payments end: ANU study

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A new study has found employment and hours worked have held steady despite the removal of key support measures that were in place during the heat of the pandemic.

Both the successful JobKeeper wage subsidy and coronavirus JobSeeker supplement ended in March.

The survey of more than 3500 adult Australians by the Australian National University found employment stayed at around 60 per cent of the population between January and April 2021.

ANU’s Matthew Gray says there hasn’t been a dramatic decline in employment.

“This is even more impressive given our findings cover the period immediately following the cessation of the JobKeeper scheme and the JobSeeker supplement,” Professor Gray says.

“This is good news for many Australians, the economy and our economic activity, particularly as we look to rebuild in the wake of the COVID recession.”

Treasury had estimated that up to 150,000 people would lose their job as a result of the end of JobKeeper.

However, like the ANU survey, economists are growing confident these jobs can be absorbed by a surprisingly strong rebound in the jobs market.

Just hours before Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hands down his third budget on Tuesday night, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its latest payroll jobs report, a precursor to official labour force data later this month.

It will be the first report to contain the full impact, if any, of JobKeeper ending.

Before then, Monday will see the release of National Australia Bank’s influential monthly business survey for April.

In March, business conditions were the strongest on record, while confidence remained well above average.

The ABS will also release final retail spending figures for March, as well as sales data for the March quarter.

Economists expect spending growth will be around the 1.4 per cent increase seen in the preliminary figures.

However this won’t be enough to prevent a 0.4 per cent decline for the March quarter, following two strong previous quarters.