More than 900,000 jobs have been lost in a short amount of time around the nation due to coronavirus.
More than 900,000 jobs have been lost in a short amount of time around the nation due to coronavirus.

Mid North Coast suffers highest job losses during Covid-19

THE coronavirus pandemic has been the cause of more than 900,000 job losses around the nation, but in tourism and hospitality reliant markets like the Mid North Coast the fallout has been immense.

The Mid North Coast and Coffs Clarence region have experienced the worst rising unemployment rates across the country over the past two months.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that between mid March and early May, employee jobs decreased by a staggering 11.8% on the Mid North Coast.

The worst affected regions being Coffs Harbour and Grafton with a total of 11.2% of payroll jobs lost.

Industries experiencing the biggest falls during the pandemic around the nation include food/beverage services, accommodation, education and motion picture and sound recording activities.

Young people were twice as likely to have lost jobs since the crisis started, the labour force figures indicate.

The Coffs Clarence has been hampered by rising youth unemployment in recent years recording NSW's highest rates prior to the Covid-19 of up to 23.3% in some quarters.  

Australia-wide there was a 4.6 per cent rise in people aged under 20 in jobs at the start of May compared to the previous week. 

This is said to highlight the impact the COVID-19 lockdown has had on the hospitality and tourism industries, which on the Mid North and Coffs Coasts have traditionally comprised a high number of casual and part-time employment. 

Alarmingly, the Reserve Bank of Australia board has suggested that the true unemployment rates across Australia may be higher than reported by the current ABS statistics as JobSeeker recipients are not currently being required by Centrelink to actively seek work. 

An estimated 60,000 people have lost work between March and April - the biggest monthly fall in employment on record. 

Another 6.1 million Australians are receiving JobKeeper. 

Queues at Centrelink have been a sad feature of the coronavirus recession.
Queues at Centrelink have been a sad feature of the coronavirus recession.

ECONOMIC FINDINGS: 

Total wages paid decreased by 5.4 per cent."

• Across states and territories from March 24 to May 2, employment changes were: NSW (-7.7 per cent); Victoria (-8.4 per cent); Queensland (-6.1 per cent); South Australia (-7.2 per cent); Western Australia (-5.9 per cent); Tasmania (-7.2 per cent); Northern Territory (-4.0 per cent); and ACT (-7.0 per cent).

• By industry, employee jobs fell most from March 14 to May 2 in Accommodation & food services (down 27.1 per cent) from Arts & recreation services (down 19 per cent). In the Financial and insurance services sector, jobs lifted by 0.6 per cent.

• By region, the Mid North Coast has been most affected by job losses with payroll jobs falling 11.8 per cent from 14 March to 18 April. Next was Coffs Harbour - Grafton (-11.2 per cent) and Sunshine Coast Queensland (-10.2 per cent). But in Blacktown in NSW jobs fell just 4.4 per cent.

Stage 3 is set to bring back more than 850,000 Australians back to work than at present. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
Stage 3 is set to bring back more than 850,000 Australians back to work than at present. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) credit card data - Week ended May 15

• CBA card data shows, "spending is down 2 per cent compared to a year ago. This is a similar result to last week but a big improvement on the spending trends that occurred in April. Spending is weakest in NSW, Victoria and the ACT. Relatively tight restrictions in Victoria is one factor impacting on spending trends in this state."

• CBA noted: "Spending on clothing and footwear is staging a noticeable recovery down 17 per cent over the year compared to being around 60 per cent lower over the year in April. An improvement in sentiment around the economy, the start of the colder weather and an easing of restrictions allowing some people to return to work and school may be encouraging clothing and footwear purchases. Spending on personal care (haircuts, massages etc.) is showing a similar trend to clothing and footwear although the improvements hasn't been quite as strong.

• Spending on household furnishings and equipment once again remains the stand out in terms of the category showing the most positive trend. There is no letup in the DIY and other home maintenance projects going on. Spending in this category is 53 per cent higher than a year ago.

• While there has been an improvement in spending in all states and territories, spending in NSW, Victoria and the ACT is still down on year ago levels. Spending in Victoria is 7 per cent below year ago levels while NSW is down 3 per cent. The weaker performance in Victoria is probably because this state has tighter restrictions in place."

JobKeeper payments have started across Australia, as the Federal Government seeks to soften the blow of the Covid-19 recession.
JobKeeper payments have started across Australia, as the Federal Government seeks to soften the blow of the Covid-19 recession.

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) Household Spending Intentions Series (HSI) - April

• According to the CBA, "The impact of the economic shutdown to control the spread of Covid‑19 continued to dominate the Household Spending Intentions readings in April 2020. Large declines were experienced in Home Buying, Travel and Entertainment spending intentions."

• And, "April Retail Spending Intentions shifted lower, closer to the levels seen in February, after a spike higher in March. Health & fitness spending intentions remained at elevated levels, Education spending intentions were down modestly, while Motor vehicle spending intentions have begun to roll‑over."

• On home buying intentions: "After holding near record high levels in March, home buying intentions declined in April as the economic shutdown restrictions dramatically effected home buying activity. This is in line with recent weaker home lending activity."

• On retail spending intentions: "After spiking higher in March, April retail spending intentions declined back to near the levels seen in February."



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