The proportion of tourism jobs in the Australian economy has plunged to its lowest September quarter on record, revealing the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proportion of tourism filled jobs fell to 4.6 per cent in September, the lowest September quarter since 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

There were 634,000 tourism jobs in September, a 13 per cent drop from September 2019.

The latest ABS figures released on Tuesday reveal the sector has been hit harder by bushfires and COVID-19 than the economy as a whole.

It recovered slightly, with the number of jobs jumping four per cent from the June to September quarter after two large quarterly falls.

"Despite the uptick in the September quarter, the latest data is again showing that tourism has been impacted more severely than the economy as a whole with the number of jobs down 13 per cent (around 94,900 jobs) for the year ending September," ABS Tourism Statistics assistant director Terri Hendry said.

She added: "Tourism has always had a high proportion of part-time jobs, but in September, tourism part-time jobs exceeded full-time jobs for the first time in this time series."

 

Air transport has suffered one of the biggest job losses. Picture: James Gourley
Air transport has suffered one of the biggest job losses. Picture: James Gourley

 

The biggest falls in tourism jobs since September 2019 were in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (23,900 jobs), accommodation (23,500 jobs) and air, water and other transport (15,200).

The sector was impacted after summer bushfires swept across Australia, with states of emergency declared in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, followed immediately by the pandemic, which forced Australia's international borders shut in March and a series of domestic restrictions and lockdowns.

Prior to COVID-19, jobs on average were growing in all tourism industries for a decade prior to 2020, the ABS said.

But jobs for all tourism industries fell this year except for retail trade and rail transport.

Originally published as Tourism jobs plunge to lowest levels


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