Australia’s jobless rate is growing towards the predicted 10 per cent, though figures released today show it rose to 5.2 per cent, lower than expected.
Some 718,600 were out of work. Those still working, whether at home or at their desks in essential services, rose by 5,900 to 13,017,600.
This was driven by a 6,400 increase in part-time jobs (to 4,135,400 people), and a 400 fall in full-time employment (to 8,882,200).
Experts say without the JobKeeper initiative, where employers get $1,500 a fortnight to retain workers, our jobless rate would reach 15 per cent of 1.4 million.
But no businesses have yet been cleared for JobKeeper, so business confidence is low and workers are justifiably anxious.
Today’s numbers don’t show the worst of the job losses from the coronavirus pandemic. The data was collected before social distancing measures were introduced and hundreds of businesses sent their workers home.
Thousands of those left jobless have applied for the government’s JobSeeker payment. But they are still waiting for the first payment.
Up to one in five Australian families have lost their income in many sectors, with vacancy rates dialled down to almost zero.
Even advertisements for nursing and personal care are down a third, while staples for those seeking to earn extra money like hospitality are 80 per cent down on the same period last year.
The latest SEEK Employment Report shows an overall decline in job ad volume, down 33.9 per cent year-on-year to March 2020.
The industries contributing most significantly to the overall decline in job were trades and services, information and communication technology, and hospitality and tourism..
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the labour market and SEEK,” the company’s managing director Kendra Banks said.
Hospitality and tourism was one of the first sectors to be impacted by the pandemic.
“SEEK saw employers and business owners looking for roles within the sector, such as bar staff, housekeeping, guest services, tour guides, airline staff and travel agents, cease or stall their plans completely, which is a direct result of the restrictions imposed by authorities such as international borders closing and social-isolation measures,” she added.
So are there any glimmers of light?
“Roles in aged care and disability support, and child welfare, youth and family services have remained steady as have nurses practicing general medical and surgical, as well as critical care and ICU,” Ms Banks said.
“We know that employers are either scaling up or winding back their recruitment needs at a rapid pace, and there are far greater applications per job ad than what we typically see across almost all sectors.”
Australia has been buckling down to the task of surviving.
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn revealed the number of individuals and businesses that have sought financial assistance sits at just under half a million.
Another half a million mortgage holders and small business owners have sought loan variations through the Big Four banks.
Where are the job vacancies right now?
Here’s a list of what was on offer this month:
Essential retail services: roles across warehouse and distribution such as shelf stackers, delivery drivers, supply chain managers and warehousing supervisors.
Manufacturing: the additional demand for household staples has seen businesses across manufacturing need more workers to keep up with production, so factories can operate at an increased capacity.
Mining & Resources: Large resource companies are looking for highly skilled roles such as diesel fitters, auto electricians and also more general skilled roles like truck drivers and machine operators.
Virtual working / Digitisation: software development and cyber security are in demand.
Family support; nannies and tutors, as parents and carers who now need to work from home look for additional support at home with care and education.
Healthcare; Nursing – Aged Care, General Medical & Surgical, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, OT & Rehabilitation, Psychology, Counselling & Social Work.
Customer support: call centre operators and managers and customer support staff.