Category Archives: Labour Market

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Watching The Watchers

Category:Labour Market Tags : 

Covid Jobs update from John Black, CEO of Education Geographics, September 23, 2020.

So which groups and regions have been losing jobs under the Covid-19 job lockdowns? Not necessarily who you’d have thought, as it turns out.

And what impact is losing your job likely to have on your vote? Frankly, the polls seem to show the voters distinguishing between the political management of Covid lockdowns and their future voting intention.

It seems that inspirational leadership at times of great stress doesn’t necessary get you re-elected – as Winston Churchill discovered after World War 2.

I think the safest bet at the moment is to look at winners and losers from the lockdown and check out their most recent voting intention. Actual jobs held or lost and actual votes cast. A lifetime in journalism has taught me that evidence and truth are always handy friends to fall back on.

On that note, we’ve been monitoring the ABS experimental estimates on the impact of COVID-19 job lockdowns on payroll jobs and wages, since mid-March. There’s been a fair bit of retrospective adjustments by the ABS to the data, particularly that for wages, but there are some useful insights to be gained from the data for our clients across the country.

For example, we have been able to make reasonable estimates of SA2 suburb jobs data from the demographic profiles in the ABS regular releases and the SA4 spatial data released by the ABS. Being able to rely on fortnightly national jobs data for 10 million income earners is a lot more spatially powerful than trying to leverage up a sample of 25,000 from 88 national regions.

It all sounds a bit dry, until you start to profile these relatively fine-grained spatial results against our big education database or map them across regions.

We’re going to share some of these over the coming few months, as time permits. The data in these charts is from the period up to early August and we’ll release more in the coming month, from payroll data released this week.

The charts shown here are based on all Australian suburbs outside of Victoria. We left Victoria out of this profile as the results were so negative, relative to the other states (2.9 percent of jobs lost outside Victoria, compared to 6.4 percent lost in Victoria) that it hopelessly distorted the national profiles.

The patterns in Victoria were reasonably similar however, just a lot more emphatic in terms of winners and losers, with a lot more of the latter than the former.

One exception here was miners and the longer term unemployed. In other states where Governments have been able to control Covid outbreaks more effectively, these two demographics live in suburbs which have fared a lot better. This may have something to do with FIFO miners in Melbourne not being able to get to work in other states, due to their state-wide lockdowns – we just don’t know. Some more mining jobs in Victoria in future would certainly assist here.

First we take a closer look at our traditional stereotypes, to see how they’ve fared.

The above profile chart shows suburb-level jobs gained, for the gold bars above the line and jobs lost, below the line. We’re talking here about jobs gained or lost by suburbs, relative to a (non-Victorian) Australian average jobs loss of about three percent to early August. So those stereotypes above the line are a bit like boats rowing home hard against an outgoing tide. They have to be doing pretty well against the current, just to make it back to the jetty.

The green bars (RHS) show the national means for each of the stereotypes. The five on the right are scores standardised to 100 while the activist pro-Rudd refers to a smaller group of families typically found in semi-rural areas – the sort of families who voted Kevin Rudd into office in 2007 at the expense of John Howard, but who also put Scott Morrison into office in 2019. This smaller group has a lot of clout in Queensland marginal seats and it is now doing ok. Not spectacular, but ok.

The other demographics who re-elected the Coalition are doing even better, relatively speaking, under Covid job lockdowns.

We’re looking here at Working Families (Tradie Dad, Mum in a Clerical job and two kids at home) whose jobs are holding, at least outside Victoria. These are big urban and provincial city groups in many marginal Labor or Coalition seats, and this infers Scott Morrison is on his way to growing his own version of the old Howard Battlers in Queensland and western Sydney.

Other groups doing well include the big outer suburban stereotype volatile group of Swinging Voters (young marrieds, with kids and a mortgage and very tight budgets), which seems to explain why support for the Federal Coalition is fluctuating, but also generally on or above 50 percent.

Finally, we have the Digitally Disrupted, a big urban stereotype of machine operators and unskilled blue-collar workers, often found in manufacturing industry jobs – another big group to swing away from Bill Shorten at the last Federal election in many safe or marginal Labor seats.

Guess which of the boats aren’t making it back to the jetty tonight? The Goat Cheese Circle and the inner urban twenty-something students we called the Coming of Age stereotype. The Goat Cheese Circle group are high-income, professional couples living within an easy commute of the CBD and Coming of Age kids can be found in the CBD or in University suburbs or regional centres, chasing hospitality jobs which no longer exist.

These stereotypes are found in the suburbs faring the worst in what is already a pretty bleak jobs market.

To help you gauge the political significance of these labour market changes, we show the vote profiles from the 2019 election for the 2PP vote and swing and for the Green primary vote.

The actual vote profile for Labor or for the Coalition isn’t significant. The Green voter profile however is certainly showing that the (young) Green 2019 voters are more likely to be found in suburbs losing the most jobs. This isn’t surprising when we look at the number of students now out of work and the dominant role students play in the Coming of Age stereotype.

The really significant swings are found among the Goat Cheese Circle suburbs where we find both well paid professionals and University students. These are the groups which swung heavily against the Coalition in Victoria in recent State and Federal elections in previously safe Coalition seats.

If you put both of these demographics in the same tinny, well then, they’re rowing in the wrong direction to make it back to the jetty tonight.

These are the major demographic foundations which will determine the outcome of the next elections.

Are they going to blame the Federal Coalition Government for their lost jobs? Or are they looking for some leadership from the Labor Party, after swinging their vote behind Labor, many for the first time, in 2019.

And how is the upcoming Budget likely to play out with these groups?

We’ll keep you posted.


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Job recovery was underway in May following initial hit in April May 2020

Jobs Recovery Was Underway In May Following Initial Hit In March/April

Category:Health,Labour Market Tags : 

The recovery in many jobs was well under way in May. It’s been most pronounced in those hit first in March/April, working in hospitality, young home buyers, young casual workers also studying at TAFE and this is all to the good.

The downturn however continued in May among farming and rural communities, especially fishing (think lobsters in cargo holds of international tourist flights). This has impacted coastal and many rural communities.

The overall picture from March to the end of May shows mainstream suburban families (married, middle aged, with a mortgage and kids at school, two jobs that they really need, and going to church occasionally) to have been much less affected by Covid or by the follow-up lockdowns – down about five percent. These are the groups which weren’t picked up in the polls before the last election and which re-elected Scott Morrison as PM.  

The groups in deepest trouble (ten percent plus loss over jobs) over the period March to May were – despite a recovery in May – still the workers in casual hospitality and arts & rec jobs (agnostics, twenty somethings, living in small rental units, single, agnostics, no kids, Green voters).

Link to Map

 Jobs Recovery was underway in May following intial hit in March / April.

So, good is down only five percent and getting better slowly. Bad is ten percent and getting worse slowly. Spatially, Tasmania looks pretty awful, as do many rural and coastal communities, but the really horrible bits on the map are the inner-city suburbs, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, where Covid cases have been most concentrated.

Because the jobs lost in many cases have been second or third casual jobs and less well paid, the impact of jobs lost to the economy has been a bit overstated and has actually increased average incomes per job in many suburban areas, especially with large public sector payrolls.

This is, however, pretty cold comfort, for those relying on Government handouts and counting down to the end of September.

What was the real rate of unemployment in May? The short answer is 11.5 percent. This is obtained by maintaining the pre-Covid lockdown participation rate at the March level of 66.2 percent and applying this to the Civilian population 15 years and over, producing a potential workforce of up to 13, 770,061 in May. The combined numbers of officially unemployed and those who dropped out was 1,579,639. We used original or unadjusted figures as seasonal adjustments have become overwhelmed by Covid lockdowns and only original figures are used spatially for smaller areas. The original unemployment figure was marginally higher at 11.7 percent and 12.1 percent respectively in January and February 1993.

The figure of 11.5 percent also resonates with the new and more immediate ABS series on Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages, which shows 5.6 percent of main jobs were lost between March 14 and the end of May and the official March unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in March. The two figures sum to 11.2 percent.

This means the current unemployment rate is as bad now as it was during the worst of the recession in the early 1990’s. The unemployment figure then was marginally higher at 11.7 percent and 12.1 percent respectively in January and February 1993.

The current figures for the one touch payroll data have been recovering slowly from the initial impact of the Covid jobs lockdown in early April, and this 11.2 percent hybrid figure is likely to continue (barring a second wave starting off from Victoria) at least until the Government begins to wind back JobKeeper and JobSeeker in September.

The realistic figure for unemployment rates at that time will be determined by whether the rate of recovery exceeds the rate at which those now on JobKeeper or JobSeeker join the ranks of those actively seeking work and satisfying the ABS definition of being unemployed.

The official ABS labour market unemployment rate is now pretty meaningless, as participation rates will tend to decline with relatively older and younger workers dropping out of the labour market.

In fact, the first sign of a recovery in a recessed regional labour market can be an interim increase in the local unemployment rate, as formerly discouraged workers are encouraged to seek work by becoming officially unemployed on a temporary basis, while actively hunting for a job and hence immediately boosting participation rates and then growing employment in the longer term.

So the most useful indicators you should be watching for in coming months are total jobs lost and gained by region and accompanying movements to participation rates.

 

Text by John Black, founder of ADS and EGS. Maps by Dr. Jeanine McMullan, CEO of Health Geographics.

 


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Impact on Australian Employment by COVID-19

Impact on Australian Employment by COVID-19

Category:Health,Labour Market Tags : 

We trace the jobs impact of the Covid-19 labour market shutdown in a news article and a linked online story map published in The Australian today.

The story outlines the evidence that the jobs downturn impacts announced by the Prime Minister in late March were sudden and deep and that since then, there have already been some tentative signs of a small jobs recovery in those states with lower levels of new Covid-19 cases, in apparent anticipation of an easing of social distancing and travel restrictions. However, in those states with continuing cases of new community transmission the downturn in higher SES professional jobs has deepened.

The article is available only to The Australian readers and subscribers and covers the new payroll data provided to the public by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as a public service, while the data is still being developed.

The ADS/Esri maps in the article are based on 2019 Federal electorates and use the same data, so caution is advised. They are user-friendly for mobiles and are available on the ADS website at https://www.elaborate.net.au/impact-on-australian-employment-by-covid-19/

John Black, ADS Chairman. Dr Jeanine McMullan, Chief Mapper.

 

Click for Federal Seats Jobs Map

Impact on Australian Employment by COVID-19 by John Black, ADS Chairman


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TRADIES UP, BUT CLERKS & SALES JOBS DISAPPEAR

Category:Labour Market Tags : 

The national Year on Year employment to population ratio and the participation rate stopped their downward slide during the February labour market quarter and during the May quarter both were moving in a positive direction.

If we smooth the original data out to a 12-month moving average we see the start of what looks like an upward turning point in the employment trends to the end of May and the national figures for June and July were reasonably encouraging.

But a detailed examination of the figures by industry and occupation infer some caution should be exercised.

Industry and Occupational Breakdown of National Data.

By industry, over the past year, agriculture continued what looks like a long term structural decline in jobs, manufacturing showed some signs of life, but construction was still in good shape, as was hospitality.

IT and Media had some short-term gains, but the only consistently strong private sector industry remained Professional Services, (such as lawyers, architects, engineers, accountants) with nearly 63,000 jobs created over the past year and 300,000 jobs in the decade since the GFC.

The predominantly public sector funded or regulated industries of Public Admin, Education and Health remained the biggest drivers of jobs growth, with 45 percent of all jobs created over the past 12 months and 50 percent over the past decade.

When we look at the ABS labour market table showing the narrowly defined version of public sector vs private sector for Occupations, rather than by Industry, we see 41 percent of jobs by occupation last year were created directly by the three differing levels of Government in the public sector, instead of the long-run figure of about 12.5 percent.

In the private sector, 138,400 jobs were created and 74,500 were professionals, but private sector managers (and farmers) went backwards by 13,100 jobs. The hollowing out of female middle-class occupations by digital disruption continued, with 41,800 clerical and receptionist jobs going, virtually all of them full time, even as 42,200 sales jobs also disappeared.

The positive figures in the private sector side of the occupation table came from the creation last year of 76,600 full-time jobs for Tradies and Technicians. There were also an extra 91,200 mostly full-time jobs for the semi-skilled and unskilled blue-collar workers (machine operators, drivers, labourers and cleaners). However, the bulk of these jobs were low paid and those that weren’t, such as Tradies, were coming off a very low base in mid-2016, keeping wages low.

So where were these middle class white collar jobs lost and where were the blue-collar jobs gained?

Regional Variations.

The earlier post-GFC map link and the latest map link are shown here.

https://educationgeo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=de5ec5b142644631976efa3b384f6948

Australia Labour-Force-2008-2016

https://educationgeo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=0a950e5ff5bc4ff2adff2c76baac084a

Australia Labour-Force-May-17

The online maps show the more recent national recovery in blue collar jobs seems to have also driven up employment levels and participation rates in many mixed working class and agricultural regions on the fringes of our major cities, like La Trobe – Gippsland in Victoria and Logan – Beaudesert in Queensland.

In New South Wales, the formerly hard hit and relatively low SES remote and rural regions like Murray, and Far West and Orana have shown a post GFC recovery and a bounce-back of jobs under threat from technology which is supported by both the national summary data and the regional data.

Well outside the capital cities, we saw a strong local recovery in the jobs market include many working-class economies which had been doing it tough in the eight years since the GFC and these include Townsville – which is genuinely heartening to see – along with other Queensland regions like Toowoomba, Ipswich, Cairns and Mackay. So, we’re seeing some growth, but from historically very low base levels.

When it comes to job losses, it’s a little surprising that some of the richer inner-city regions of Sydney, Brisbane and Perth were shedding jobs in the 12 months to May 2017.

Demographic Profiles.

After running these figures through our database for some simple correlations, we saw that the (lower SES) regions which gained the most jobs in the 12 months to May 2017 were those containing lower income, young parents, with few educational qualifications and little vocational training and living in what seemed to be often overcrowded, State rental housing, with younger children.

We saw a mix of the more evangelical religions, like Seventh Day Adventist and Other Protestant, which we note often in the urban fringe seats of south east Queensland, along with Aboriginal Traditional Religions and Languages from regions like the NT Outback and Far West NSW.

Those regions heading backwards during the last year were older, specifically aged from 55 years and above. They were also reasonably well off. Their residents tended to be retired, relying on superannuation and Government pensions for income.

Mortgage stress made a showing here and this could be a pointer to middle class persons in their late fifties, transitioning to retirement and building up super balances to discharge their mortgage only when old enough to receive the aged pension.

Finally, we should note that, while there were only small drops in the national summary figures for women in full time real estate jobs, those regions across Australia with the greatest proportion of real estate agents were shedding jobs over the past year and it was statistically significant to 99.9 percent confidence levels.

The bounce back from blue collar jobs during the past year is a welcome sign of some recovery in the private sector, but strong bias towards public-sector jobs growth over the last 12 months infers that the apparent healthy recovery in the national labour market figures may not be sustained.

 


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MIDDLE CLASS JOBS HOLLOWING OUT

Category:Labour Market Tags : 

78,300 full time jobs were lost for Tradesmen and Tradeswomen in the past year, virtually all of them in the private sector.

65,700 of these full-time jobs lost were formerly held by Tradesmen.

55,500 full time clerical and admin jobs were lost last year.

51,400 of these were former full time jobs in the private sector and 43,800 of them were formerly full time jobs held by women.

A family made up of a Tradesman dad and a mother with a clerical job makes up 22.2 percent of the workforce and 2,669,200 jobs. This is the key middle Australia voting demographic which makes or breaks Government.

In terms of its percentage of the workforce, this demographic has been declining since the GFC, when it was about 25 percent of the workforce.

This is why Governments representing the status quo are not getting re-elected.

Australian Labour Force Regions – Changes November 2008 to 2016

 

The private sector over the past year grew by 131,300 part-time workers, but lost 50,100 full time workers, with a net growth of 81,200 workers. This casualisation of jobs is why incomes are flat.

The public sector grew 28,700 full time jobs and lost 22,600 part-time jobs, with a net growth of 6,100 jobs.

So, all the growth over the past year in full time jobs has been in the public sector, with the private sector going backwards by 50,100 jobs.

The big growth in high wage jobs continued among professionals where some 47,300 jobs were created in total and virtually all of them were for women employed in the private sector.

There have been an extra 102,900 jobs created in past year for semi-skilled and unskilled blue collar workers, with two-thirds of them part time.  Virtually all of these jobs were in the private sector.

When we look at Industries, we saw a major recent jump in manufacturing jobs in the past year of more than 100,000 workers, with a similar rise for the public-sector trio of public admin, education, and health. These are the industries where the union movement still has strong representation and which support Labor or Green candidates.

So, during the past year, Green voters have been travelling well in the inner cities, Labor voters (and the unions) have been doing ok in the outer industrial suburbs, but working family jobs continue to be hollowed out in the middle-class suburbs.