JobKeeper ending will cause over 100,000 job losses: CBA

author-avatar By on March 09, 2021
JobKeeper ending will cause over 100,000 job losses: CBA

The end of the Federal Government's JobKeeper scheme at the end of March is expected to result in 110,000 lost jobs.

That's according to Commonwealth Bank (CBA) economists, who said employees in travel sensitive industries would see up to 25% of JobKeeper recipients lose employment. 

"We see transport, arts & recreation and accommodation & food services industries most at risk of job losses at the end of JobKeeper(i.e. we classify them as high risk)," they said.

"These industries are sensitive to international travel and also suffer badly when restrictions and lockdowns are imposed." 

Employees in retail trade and education receiving JobKeeper are forecast to see job losses of up to 10%, while other industries like construction, and professional services, would see job losses of up to 5%. 

Despite the initial job losses, CBA forecast the expiry of the support scheme would have a relatively short-lived impact on the labour market as a whole. 

"Firstly, some people may find a new job relatively quickly and therefore won’t be counted as being unemployed," the economists said. 

"The latest ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) job vacancies data indicates that there were a record number of 254,000 vacancies in the November quarter 20."

Secondly, some people who lose their job may choose to step out of the labour force for a period of time.

"The JobKeeper program and other government support has left some employees better off financially than before the pandemic." 

CBA also pointed to NAB's business survey that suggested businesses would continue to hire in the near-term. 

The impact of the JobKeeper expiry isn't expected to be reflected in ABS data until May unemployment, due in June. 

Australia's unemployment rate currently sits at 6.4%, decreasing by 0.2 percentage points in January, exemplifying the sharp rebound in the labour market in recent months. 

See also: Tourism, hospitality industries call for JobKeeper extension

"Very competitive jobs market" 

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, speaking of Roy Morgan's own employment figures, said there was a record-high workforce participation rate as Australians faced the end of JobKeeper and a decreased JobSeeker

“Roy Morgan’s results for February show a growing workforce that is unable to find jobs for all the new workers in the market for a job," Ms Levine said.

“The combined workforce has now reached a record of over 14.6 million, an increase of 278,000 on January and over 740,000 higher than early March 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The winding back of the emergency Government support measures at the end of March has clearly hit home for many, with the JobSeeker payment being cut from the current $716 a fortnight to $616 a fortnight and the JobKeeper wage subsidy of up to $1,000 per fortnight ending." 

Ms Levine said the staged withdrawal of government stimulus had caused the job market to look and function very differently than it had last year. 

“However, the structure of the economy is significantly different now than it was a year ago with industries such as Wholesale, Mining, Construction, Property & Business Services and parts of the Retail industry ‘booming’ whereas industries such as Accommodation & Food Services, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism and Education are facing tough times with the end of JobKeeper in a few weeks," she said. 

“These circumstances mean that while some businesses are busy hiring and planning investments for the year ahead other businesses are cutting back on employees who are no longer affordable with the end of the wage subsidy fast approaching." 

The Australian Council of Social Service estimates there is only one job for every nine jobseekers and has called for greater financial support from the government. 


Photo by Nik Shuiliahin on Unsplash

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Alex joined Savings.com.au as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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