Workers ditch the side hustle as JobKeeper takes effect

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on June 16, 2020
Workers ditch the side hustle as JobKeeper takes effect

Photo by David Emrich on Unsplash

Data released today revealed nearly a third of all job losses since COVID-19 hit were to secondary jobs not covered by JobKeeper.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) payroll data revealed that since 14 March - the 100th case of COVID-19 - 29% of all jobs lost were 'secondary' jobs.

As defined by the ABS, secondary jobs are other jobs worked concurrently by multiple job holders.

On the week ending 14 March, 5.6% of all jobs were counted as secondary, while in the week ending 30 May that figure was just 3.7%.

In the March quarter, prior to the pandemic taking off, ABS data showed 6% of employed people worked multiple jobs. 

The number of secondary jobs fell 38.8% between 14 March and 30 May, while the number of 'main' jobs fell 5.6%. Total payroll jobs in that period fell 7.5%, but increased 1% through May.  

The ABS put the loss in jobs down to JobKeeper only covering one job, with payments having started flowing from early May.

"JobKeeper can only cover a single job for an eligible employee, with main jobs likely to be supported to a greater extent than secondary jobs," the report said.

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            Across all employment in May, however, there was a slight recovery in jobs and payroll wages.

            Some of the most-impacted industries due to COVID-19 lockdowns showed some recovery, according to ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

            “Payroll jobs in the accommodation and food services industry increased by 5.0% through May, but remained 29.1% lower than in mid-March,” he said.

            “The latest data showed that the total payroll job losses since mid-March were greatest in the week ending 18 April (8.9%) and had recovered to a 7.5% loss by the end of May.”

            Wages were down 8.3% in that period across all industries, with the only sector to see growth being education and training, up 0.7%. 

            Accommodation and food services took the biggest wages hit, down more than a quarter, followed by mining at just over a fifth.

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            Harrison is's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison strives to deliver and edit news and guides that are engaging, thought-provoking, and simple to read.


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