Employment in accommodation and food services fell by 293k over the past three months. Picture: Supplied
Employment in accommodation and food services fell by 293k over the past three months. Picture: Supplied

‘Grim’ job graph shows industries at risk

Australia has just recorded the biggest plunge in job vacancies in recorded history but there's still some surprising industries where work opportunities improved during the pandemic.

Job vacancies fell off a cliff in the May quarter as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns according to the latest figures today.

The number of job vacancies in Australia decreased by 43 per cent over the May 2020 quarter which is the largest single fall on record.

Economist and Professor Roger Wilkins said the figures were grim and told the story of the huge impact of COVID-19 on jobs in restaurants and cafes.

"It shows that between February and May, the number of jobs in accommodation and food services declined by 293,000," he told news.com.au.

"What this shows, this data, is that the job losses, while they are spread across all sectors, are very concentrated on accommodation and food services. They have been prohibited in some cases from trading and so we would certainly be expecting a bounce back. But the bounce back will be nowhere near as big as the fall we are seeing there.

"But we've seen smallish increases in agriculture jobs. These are seasonally adjusted so it's not because of picking season or anything like that.

"Electricity, gas, water and waste services jobs also increased."

Financial and insurance services jobs also increased slightly by 20,355 jobs, possibly to assist businesses in coping with the COVID-19 fallout.

But the public sector is still a safer port in a storm than the private sector, with job vacancies declining by 29 per cent, compared to 43 per cent.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the new figures were worse than Paul Keating's "recession we had to have" in the 1990s.

"Vacancies in the arts and recreation services industry fell 95 per cent, followed by rental, hiring and real estate (down 68 per cent), and accommodation and food services (down 66 per cent)," Mr Jarvis said.

Victoria was the hardest hit, with job vacancies slashed in half.

But Indeed's chief economist Callam Pickering said there were some early signs of a modest bounce back.

"While today's job vacancies data is pretty dire, our data on Indeed shows that hiring activity has since improved. Currently tracking around 42 per cent below last year's trend but making up ground daily," he said.

"That improvement is particularly apparent when focusing on new jobs - that is those on Indeed for seven days or less. They have surged recently, up almost 180 per cent from its low, with improvement apparent across almost every sector."

Originally published as 'Grim' job graph shows industries at risk


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