The ongoing economic fallout of the Delta outbreak continued this week, regardless of the statistical anomaly, due to people leaving the workforce, that was the reported 4.6% national unemployment rate for July. Queensland had the highest unemployment rate (5.2%) among the states but that can be considered an anomaly, too (see the ABS Labour Force data). Hours work fell sharply in NSW, less so in Queensland, but rebounded in Victoria in July, with Victoria’s figure obviously a quirky result due to the timing of lockdowns affecting that state relative to others (see chart below). The August ABS Labour Force figures will no doubt be awful for Victoria, too.
Overall, Queensland should fare better than southern states, unless we have a Delta outbreak and lockdowns, too. Even if we don’t have an outbreak, we will suffer due to a lack of interstate visitors and reduced interstate state, and our tourism regions such as the Gold Coast and Cairns will suffer acutely. Pete Faulkner has a very concerning chart on Cairns airport passengers in his excellent post Far North tourism on the brink. Pete nails it here:
There is now genuine concern within the sector that many operators, who managed to hang on through 2020 with significant Government support, are now teetering on the brink of collapse in the face of the present lockdowns.
Without increased Government support, probably along the lines of JobKeeper, we are likely to see a major hollowing-out of the sector in the Far North which will make a recovery, when domestic and international borders finally open, all the more difficult to sustain.
Another concerning bit of data was featured on ABC News last night, a chart showing a big drop in the volume of invoices since JobKeeper ended (see A sharp fall in the number and value of invoices being created). The rest of 2021 is looking very bad at the moment.
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