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Stats reveal COVID-19 carnage on jobs

New statistics on jobs and wages reveal that the accommodation and food services industry shed a quarter of its jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its “Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia” statistics, which is based on single touch payroll data from the Australian Taxation Office. The data provides additional information on the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak and complement monthly labour force statistics.

It revealed that between 14 March and 4 April (the three weeks after Australia recorded its 100th confirmed coronavirus case), the accommodation and food services industry saw the largest reduction in jobs, decreasing by 25.6 per cent, followed by the arts and recreation services industry, which decreased by 18.7 per cent.

Overall, jobs decreased by 6 per cent during this period.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said: “Looking at the week-to-week changes, the decrease in jobs in the week ending 4 April 2020 was 5.5 per cent, significantly larger than the 0.5 per cent decrease in the week ending 28 March 2020.”


The statistics come at a time when broking industry has raised questions about how borrowers with unconditional approvals who have lost jobs would be treated, and lenders have changed their risk appetites and reviewed their existing pipelines of credit applications.

COVID-19 impact by industry

Broken down by industry, the ABS data showed that between the week ending 14 March and 4 April, total wages in the accommodation and food services plummeted by 30.1 per cent.

Wages in the arts and recreation services decreased by 15.7 per cent.

Between the week ending 28 March and 4 April, jobs in the accommodation and food services dropped by 18.9 per cent, while arts and recreation services decreased by 13.1 per cent.


Wages in accommodation and food services plunged by 17.7 per cent, while total wages in professional, scientific, and technical services decreased by 9.7 per cent.

Impact by age cohorts

Data around which age groups were most affected by the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic revealed those people aged under 20 saw the largest drop in jobs, decreasing by 9.9 per cent.

People in this age cohort also saw their wages decrease by 12.7 per cent, while those aged between 20 and 29 saw their wages decline by 9.1 per cent.

On the other end of the spectrum, those aged 70 and over saw their jobs decrease by 9.7 per cent.

The broking industry recently raised concerns around the treatment of borrowers with unconditional approvals who have lost their jobs.

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) said it was examining how lenders would treat borrowers with unconditional approvals who are now facing “pre-settlement hardship” as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking in a recent video update, MFAA CEO Mike Felton said several brokers had raised concerns about whether lenders would honour the unconditional approval of loans that have not reached settlement – particularly if the borrower has an enforceable purchase contract.

Several lenders, including Gateway Bank, have tightened their lending conditions and announced changes to their credit policy to reflect economic uncertainty from the coronavirus outbreak.

[Related: Labour conditions calm ahead of COVID-19 storm]

Stats reveal COVID-19 carnage on jobs

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Malavika Santhebennur

Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.

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