Hire and fire: Aussie workers losing 3500 jobs a day
Job losses have averaged 3500 every day in the private sector since March, and the pandemic's impact on unemployment is worsening.
A new report from the Institute of Public Affairs says 607,000 private sector employees lost their jobs between March 14 and September 5, while full-time positions are scarce with 89 per cent of new jobs created since May being part-time only.
The IPA's analysis of government data found 19,700 public sector workers were hired during the same period - 110 per day - which is not enough to keep pace with private sector job shedding.
"Jobseeker is not declining, even as states open up," says the report, Economic Scars: How the lockdowns have permanently disfigured the Australian economy.
It says the crisis has distorted the Australian economy away from small business toward big business, and the plunge in full-time jobs reflects Australia's industrial relations system that makes it easier to hire and fire casual employees.
IPA research fellow Cian Hussey said: "It was never going to be possible to hibernate the economy without inflicting permanent damage."
The Australian Retailers Association's chief executive Paul Zahra said there were now about 12 people per every one job being advertised.
"There's not enough work and too many workers," he said.
The research also found since March about 70 per cent of job losses were for workers under age 35.
While last week's federal budget forecast unemployment to peak in December at 8 per cent, many experts worry it will go higher in 2021 as businesses lose their insolvency protections introduced for COVID-19 and JobKeeper payments disappear at the end of March.
"My concern is we are going to end up with a 10 per cent unemployment rate and it will take much of the 2020s to whittle that down," said demographer Bernard Salt.
"People who are unskilled or semi-skilled are really going to struggle in the 2020s," he said.
ACTU president Michele O'Neil said unemployment would continue to rise.
"We are in a dire situation," she said.
"I think we are facing hundreds of thousands or millions more workers coming off JobKeeper into unemployment."
Ms O'Neil said she feared unemployment could reach 10 per cent.
"And a lot of people don't have enough hours of work," she said.
The budget allocates $1.2bn to cover half the wages of up to 100,000 trainees or apprentices.
It also unveiled a JobMaker hiring credit of $100-$200 a week to businesses that employ staff aged under 35.
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said the federal budget had laid out plans to help "businesses to prosper and grow and create jobs for more Australians".
"Over the last three months we've seen 458,000 jobs created," she said.
"Over half of those who lost their jobs through COVID-19 have moved now back in employment."
Minister Cash said younger people had been "disproportionably affected by COVID-19".
"We want to avoid the scarring that happens when young people lose jobs in recessions and struggle to return to the workforce," she said.