This Sunday marks a pivotal date in Australia’s journey out of the economic troubles caused by Coronavirus. The Commonwealth Government’s main economic response to the pandemic, it’s ‘Jobkeeper’ payment, will not continue beyond March the 28th.
There can be little doubt that the payment staved off financial hardship for a lot of people. And as the payment ends, there is evidence that the Australian economy is travelling unexpectedly well. For example, the latest unemployment figures show that the unemployment rate for all of Australia during February 2021 was 5.8%.
At its height, the supplement was being paid to approximately 3.6 million recipients (between April and September 2020). By December 2020, that figure had fallen to 1.54 million people. That figure of 1.54 million was below the initial estimate of Treasury that the payment would be made to 2.2 million recipients during that period (Source for figures in this paragraph: ABC Website).
So, the good news is that the Australian economy as a whole suffered less than was expected due to the pandemic.
But that is the story for the economy as a whole. At an individual level, the effects of the pandemic are still being felt by very many people. In some ways, the impact varies depending on where people live. For example, people in Victoria, who experienced a long lockdown in the second half of 2020, were much less likely to have come off the Jobseeker payment by December than were people in all the other states and territories. Here is how things looked on a state by state basis (source: ATO and ABC):
In other cases, it is different industry types that have fared better than others. The number of retail and wholesale industry workers receiving the supplement fell by 82% between September 2020 and January 2021, while in the healthcare industry, 87% of recipients in the September quarter did not need the supplement by January. On the other hand, more than 40% of administrative and support service workers who were receiving Jobkeeper in September were still receiving it in January 2021 (Source: Sydney Morning Herald).
Not everyone is ready for the payment to end. On Wednesday of this week, the secretary of the Commonwealth Treasury, Dr Steven Kennedy, told a Senate estimates committee that his Department expected that between 100,000 and 150,000 people could become unemployed when the supplement ends. This is out of a group of recipients numbering around 1 million and receiving the supplement through one of 370,000 or so affected businesses. (Source: The New Daily).
Which brings us to the point of this article: if you or someone you know is still being negatively affected by the Coronavirus’ effect on the economy, please do not hesitate to get in touch. It might be that a business is winding up, or a job is being lost, or some other thing is making life more difficult than it needs to be. Whatever the situation, our passion is helping people overcome the vicissitudes of life and get themselves back on their feet and moving forward. There is never a need for you to go through these things alone. All the best and we look forward to the next time we see you.