Just announced shutdowns mean hundreds of thousands now out of work (hopefully only temporarily)

While we knew something like this was coming, it was still awful when it did come. To contain the spread of coronavirus, from midday tomorrow (Monday), pubs, bars, clubs, and gyms will be forced to shut, and restaurants and cafes will be restricted to providing takeaway items only (see this Brisbane Times article). Depending on how many people cafes and restaurants keep on to provide takeaway services, this one decision will put hundreds of thousands of people, at least 250,000 across Australia and 50,000 in Queensland I’d guess, out of work, hopefully only temporarily (e.g. consider the employment data from the ABS Census in the figure below). Of course, many of these people will end up out of work for longer than the shutdown period, as many of their employing businesses will no doubt shutdown for good due to the coronavirus shock.

Employed persons in affected industriesI should note a lot of the affected workers won’t necessarily show up as unemployed in the ABS Labour Force Survey because they won’t actively be seeking work during the shutdown period.

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3 Responses to Just announced shutdowns mean hundreds of thousands now out of work (hopefully only temporarily)

  1. Jim says:

    Sobering analysis. The next couple of years are going to be a real test of the resilience of our economic system, the capacity of government services to deal with shocks outside the normal parameters of risk management, and society’s resilience more generally.

    We shouldn’t lose sight of the need to monitor, evaluate and learn from these times and place ourselves in a better position to tackle the next major shock after this current one.

  2. Keiran says:

    thanks for the update Gene – its going to be very very tough time. I would like to see the government freeze pay increases (I would suggest pay reductions) for public servants and university staff and use the funds to help sole traders and casuals

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