Latest ABS stats reveal virus impact on Aussie workforce

What impact has the coronavirus crisis had on the Australian workforce? The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal a significant dent in employment as unemployment numbers hit 6.2 per cent.

Snapshot of virus impact on workforce

  • Unemployment hit 6.2%

  • Employment decreased by 594,300 jobs

  • Full-time employment decreased from 220,500 jobs

  • Part-time employment decreased by 373,800 jobs

Virus impact with lockdown measures in place

CreditorWatch CEO Patrick Coghlan commented on the figures.

“We always knew that April’s data was going to be catastrophic; particularly in the SME space where small to medium businesses were suffering from problems long before the coronavirus lockdown measures began.”

Coghlan said the firm’s payment data highlights the issues facing SMEs in recent months in particular. And his prediction is for a rough road ahead.

“In Q1 of 2019 alone, we have seen that payment times by small and medium businesses stretched out by an average of nearly 40 per cent. It shows businesses were suffering from cash flow problems well before the COVID-crisis and are in for a tough ride as we look to the next 12 months ahead.”

While the latest figures show employment overall dropped by 594,300 jobs, there may well more losses to come once the initial safety period created with government financial support ends.

“SMEs have the September milestone ahead, whereby the government’s temporary changes to safe harbour come to an end. The end of this period will essentially be a litmus test and will clearly identify those businesses that have come to be known as zombie companies.”

However,  Coghlan remains positive about the effects of the stimulus package on the Australian economy.

“Despite the challenges ahead for small businesses, I am hopeful that by June, we’ll start to see the government’s stimulus money working its way through the economy. We’ll also see a subsequent uptick in business activity as restrictions start to lift and Australia’s labour force gets back to work.”

Coghlan flags that Aussie firms are starting to rev up their engines.

“We have started to see the early signs of SME engines whirring again, albeit at a slow pace,” said  Coghlan. “Our credit enquiry data saw a 36 per cent uplift towards the back end of April – an indicator of businesses investigating the credit history of potential partners.”