Job losses caused by COVID-19, electorate by electorate

Workers right across Australia have been hit hard by the COVID-19 shutdowns, but some electorates have been hit harder than others.

What we looked at

To find out the job-loss story electorate by electorate, we use ABS data on the share of payroll jobs lost in each large sub-state region (called a Statistical Area 4, or SA4) between the week ending 14 March and the week ending 18 April.[1] Payroll jobs are those where workers are paid through Single Touch Payroll (STP) software. The data captures most workers in Australia: about 99 per cent of employers with 20 or more workers and 71 per cent of employers with 19 or fewer workers use STP software.

We estimate the share of payroll jobs lost in each electorate by taking the share of jobs lost in all SA4s overlapping the electorate, and then calculating a weighted average job loss based on the percentage of the electorate’s residents living in each overlapping SA4 in 2016.[2] Job losses in electorates are mapped on where workers live, rather than where they work.[3]

What we found

Unsurprisingly, electorates with large tourism industries and a high share of hospitality workers have been hit especially hard. The two worst-affected electorates are Cowper (11.6 per cent of jobs lost) and Lyne (10.7 per cent), around the Mid North Coast of NSW and Coffs Harbour. The third and fourth worst-affected are Fairfax (10.2 per cent) and Fisher (10.2 per cent), covering the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. A larger share of workers in these electorates are employed in accomodation and food services, which saw 33 per cent of jobs lost by 18 April. Of the 10 worst-hit electorates, five are in Queensland, four in NSW, and one in South Australia.

But even those electorates least affected by COVID-19 have suffered big job losses. The outer-suburban Sydney electorate of Chifley lost 4.4 per cent of jobs between 14 March and 18 April, followed by Greenway in suburban Sydney (4.4 per cent), Fremantle (4.6 per cent), and Brand in outer-suburban Perth (4.6 per cent). Of the 10 least affected by COVID-19, five are in Western Australia, four in NSW, and one in the Northern Territory.

Rural and regional electorates have been hit harder than metropolitan electorates

Workers living in rural and regional electorates have been hit much harder than workers in the major cities.

Eight of the 10 hardest-hit electorates are in rural and regional areas. Half of all rural electorates lost more than 7.5 per cent of jobs between 14 March and 18 April, compared to 16 per cent of inner-metropolitan electorates and 11 per cent of outer-metropolitan electorates.

Nine of the 10 hardest-hit electorates are held by the Coalition. Tanya Plibersekā€™s inner-city electorate of Sydney, which ranked 10th with 8.9 per cent of jobs lost, was the hardest-hit Labor electorate.

Nine of the 10 least-affected electorates are in inner- or outer-metropolitan areas, five of them held by the Coalition and five by Labor.

We plan to update this Blog post as the ABS releases updated job loss data.

Underlying data

You can download the underlying data on federal electorates ranked by the share of jobs lost as well as the electorates regional classification, state and sitting member here.

 

[1] More recent ABS payroll data shows the total number of jobs lost from the week ending 14 March to 2 May (7.3 per cent) is broadly in line with job losses to 18 April (7.1 per cent). However a regional breakdown of the more recent data is not yet available.

[2] Take the electorate of Corangamite in western Victoria as an example: in 2016 Corangamite recorded 96.3 per cent of residents living in the Geelong SA4, where 7.0 per cent of jobs have recently been lost; and 3.7 per cent of residents living in the Warrnambool and South West SA4, where 8.6 per cent of jobs have recently been lost. From this we estimate that Corangamite has lost 7.06 per cent of jobs, calculated from 0.963 times 7.0 plus 0.037 times 8.6.

[3] Job losses in the ATO payrolls data are recorded based on theĀ individual’s residential address as stated on their income tax return.

 

 

Co Authors :

Researcher at Grattan Institute