BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRY SHADOW MINISTER FOR SCIENCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
Today’s Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia release by the ABS has highlighted the profound impact this Coronavirus outbreak is having on workers across the economy.
The ABS found that between 14 March and 4 April alone:
- Total jobs decreased by 6 per cent and total wages paid decreased by 6.7 per cent;
- Jobs worked by people aged under 20 decreased by 9.9 per cent and those worked by people aged 70 and over decreased by 9.7 per cent;
- Wages to workers aged under 20 decreased by 12.7 per cent and payments to people aged 20-29 decreased by 9.1 per cent; and
- The largest change by industry was seen in accommodation and food services where jobs decreased by 25.6 per cent and which also saw wages paid in that sector fall by 30.1 per cent.
With unemployment already skyrocketing in this latest ABS report and worse results expected to come, it is difficult to imagine how these workers will “snap back” to work when the worst of this economic crisis passes.
Industries that have seen the biggest job losses and most significant declines in wages paid have a relatively high proportion of workers who have been deliberately excluded from the Morrison Government’s JobKeeper program.
These figures follow sobering forecasts of high unemployment from the Commonwealth Treasury and the International Monetary Fund.
Labor’s goal throughout this crisis has been to see workers maintain a connection with their employer.
When unemployment spikes in the next few months remember hundreds of thousands of job losses could have been prevented if the Treasurer had used his powers to include more workers in the JobKeeper program that he has excluded, which he could do with the stroke of his pen.
The release of these figures are a welcome development but are still no substitute for a full set of updated economic and budget figures and forecasts which should be released at the next Parliamentary sitting in May in lieu of a full Budget.