Tag Archives: covid impact

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Covid Impacts For School Planners in Australia | Education Geographics

Covid Impacts For School Planners

Category:Education Tags : 

Using available data from late 2021, the Education Geographics team calculated post-Covid spatial estimates from 2020 to 2031 on total population, pre-schoolers and school-aged children.

Our preliminary EGS population modelling indicates that the big winners from Covid impacts on total Australian population growth have been the four SA4 ABS statistical regions making up the state of Tasmania, along with four regions within a two-hour commute of the Melbourne CBD: Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and La Trobe-Gippsland. (See the purple SA4 regions in our attached map).

Click Map to Zoom

Covid Impacts For School Planners Using available data from late 2021, the Education Geographics team calculated post-covid spatial estimates from 2020 to 2031 on total population, pre-schoolers and school-aged children.

It seems that the big Covid lockdown of Tasmania worked a treat to boost Tasmania’s modest but stable, pre-Covid state annual growth rate, from about 0.5 percent up to 0.7 percent between 2020 and 2031, with most of the gains coming in Hobart.

And it seemed that some Melbourne residents wanting a relatively safe work-from-home retreat still wanted the option of a convenient weekly commute to meetings in the CBD. If this wasn’t needed, well, they just moved to South East Queensland.

And the big losers? Take your pick of pretty much any capital city CBD across the nation, with greater Sydney a very sad sea of red on our attached map of Covid population impacts. No wonder the NSW Government are lobbying to crank up migration numbers.

As far as the other capitals went, those most adversely impacted after Sydney were, In diminishing order, the ABS regions of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and then Adelaide.

By way of benchmarks, we anticipate that the annual pre-Covid national growth rate of 1.6 percent will drop to an annual average of about 1.0 percent out to 2031.

In terms of total Australian population, this translates to a predicted post-Covid figure of 28.5 million, compared to a pre-Covid figure of 30.3 million, a drop of 1.8 million persons, due to Covid impacts.

When it comes to pre-schoolers aged 0-4 years, the national predicted pre-Covid figure of 1.9 million could drop by 340,000 to 1.56 million, with the biggest losses experienced in the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney

For school children aged 5 to 17 years, the expected national pre-Covid population could drop by more than half a million students, from 4.8 million to 4.3 million. At 25 kids per class, that’s enough kids to fill more than 20,000 classrooms that we’d expected to see by 2031, but now we don’t.

Where these gaps in previous forecasts are likely to be concentrated is fundamental to planning decisions over the next decade.

All EGS client schools will have this pre-Covid and post-Covid information for total population, pre-schoolers and school children projected as a summary onto their major catchments.

In addition, on request, EGS qualified professionals will be able to access EGS fine-grained data for school planning projects, such as a new campus, or for commercial expansion plans for a pre-Covid growth area.

Planning before Covid

Before Covid hit our shores in late 2019, population forecasts for urban planners were pretty straightforward.

After the detailed data had been published from the 2016 Census, projections were prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. These projections reflected assumptions made about future fertility, mortality and migration trends.

It was all very official and credible and was produced down to relatively fine grained SA2 levels of about 10,000 persons and extensively used by schools, developers, big business and urban planners at all levels of Government and across the private sector.

The Health Department data was considered so reliable, you could take it to the bank and many investors did just that.

And then along came Covid in late 2019 and made all prior population forecasts redundant.

National borders were closed, many foreign students already here departed our shores, potential students and skilled workers were locked out, businesses were shut down for months at a time, working from home became the norm, CBDs were deserted and families began to drift outwards from Melbourne and Sydney into the regions and then interstate.

The December 2021 data from the ABS for mid-2021 showed Victoria lost so many overseas migrants and interstate migrants that the state was de-populating over the previous year. For planners counting on future population growth to underpin investments, this is genuinely scary stuff. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/national-state-and-territory-population/jun-2021

Queensland was the biggest winner in terms of gaining these interstate migrants from both New South Wales and Victoria, with anecdotal evidence inferring most gains were in the outlying coastal regions of South East Queensland and possibly northern NSW.

In early January 2022, we were in fact about to fine tune our forecasts to take these latest ABS figures into account, but ballooning omicron numbers by then had pretty much spoiled that sense of post-vaccination optimism.

We will monitor developments over the next months for the expected peak and fade of omicron and the possible arrival of new Covid variants. When we have more substantial evidence of sustainable trends, we will re-visit our forecasts.

We have a way to go yet with this virus, unfortunately, and with the evolving impact it is having on our total population numbers and spatial growth patterns across the nation.

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Covid Vax Map Update - Health Geographics Dr Jeanine McMullan has mapped, the distribution of those Australian 15 years and above.

Vacination Map Update as at September 13, 2021

Category:Health Tags : 

The Australian Department of Health is now publishing regular updates showing vaccination rates as a percentage of those 15 years and above, presented by Australian Bureau of Statistics SA3s.

In the public interest, the CEO of Health Geographics Dr Jeanine McMullan has mapped, via the following link, the distribution of those Australian 15 years and above with one jab, two jabs and one jab minus two jabs. These updates will be uploaded to this map link as they become available, beginning with September 6, 2021.

It was felt that those Australians with one jab, awaiting a second jab, were more likely to represent recent vaccination trends, as eligibility criteria has recently extended to younger groups and a broader range of priority groups and this in turn has been heavily influenced by recent Covid outbreaks in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT.

There are 335 SA3s in Australia, with an average of about 60,000 persons aged 15 plus years.

Smaller SA3s in remote or regional Australia contain about 10,000 persons 15 plus years. The larger SA3s include the inner cities of Sydney and Melbourne containing up to a quarter of a million persons 15 years and over. They provide a reasonable picture of a significant health event now taking place across the nation.

The Esri map https://arcg.is/1DeX1H0 can be opened and managed on virtually all devices, including PCs, Tables and Mobile Phones.


Covid Vax Map Update 9-9-2021



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Vaccination Rates by Age and Jabs by Family Income by Health Geographics

Profile of Australian Regional Vaccination Rates, as at August 28, 2021

Category:Health Tags : 

By John Black, Chairman of ADS

So many readers enjoyed the online Covid Vax maps from Health Geographics CEO Dr Jeanine McMullan at https://arcg.is/1DeX1H0 that we decided to publish a short descriptive profile of the map data, with some relevant comments for those apparently in charge of the roll out.

Introduction. Those shown in the SA3 maps with both their first and second jabs against Covid as at August 28, included the old and the rich, the traditional Coalition voters, along with their Green-voting neighbours in wealthy inner-urban regions. These two demographics dominated the Melbourne seats which also swung heavily to Federal ALP candidates in 2019.

Those with neither jab were dominated by younger and lower income Working Families, living in the middle burbs, and the Digitally Disrupted, including the longer-term unemployed, living in lower SES outer suburbs and provincial cities, two groups which deserted the ALP in 2019 and returned Scott Morrison to the Lodge.

However, with recent Covid Delta outbreaks in NSW, where vaccination has become virtually compulsory for many NSW residents, there has been a significant recent rise in the numbers of demographics with first jabs only and this has come across wider age and income groups, making the roll-out more egalitarian and focused on classic Swinging Voters, home-buying families with kids.


To get some reasonably reliable demographic profiles of vaccination rates, we took Australian Government Health Department vaccination rates by SA3 as at August 28, for those 15 years and older with one and two jabs and then we controlled for outlying state and regional anomalies, driven up by Covid outbreaks in New South Wales and held back by roll out road blocks in outback regions.

We had to control for outbreaks because it is becoming blindingly obvious that Covid vaccination rates are being driven up among mainstream demographics by Covid Delta outbreaks, which, sooner or later, will impact most harshly on the low-vax states of Western Australia and Queensland.

Profile of the Fully Vaccinated with Two Jabs

The profiling tells us that Covid outbreaks weren’t needed to drive strong vaccination rates among the elderly and the better-educated rich, especially those retirees living off private super funds, who tend to have private health insurance and spend an awful lot of money on their health needs at their Family Doctor, their dentist, their optometrist or their physio.

The better-off elderly persons with Senior Health Care cards were near top of the list.

This group became eligible because their age and vulnerability to Covid Alpha prioritized them in the vaccine queue. And, because older voters typically support the Coalition, those vaccinated as at August 28 voted for the Coalition in 2016, but a bit less so in 2019, when this older and richer demographic drifted to the ALP, especially in Melbourne’s Goat Cheese Circle.

Culturally, we found fully vaccinated regions contained more migrants from wealthier countries, such as Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

A lack of faith featured prominently here, with the big Green-voting group of Agnostics top of the list for those trusting in the science and getting access to the rollout.

Vaccination Rates by Age and Jabs by Family Income by Health Geographics

Those least likely

Those least likely to be fully vaccinated were dominated by those in the bottom income quartile, mainly those on some form of transfer payment, other than the big group of those on the aged pension.

They were joined by the big blue-collar groups of less qualified low-wage earners working as labourers, plant and machinery operators or as transport and logistical workers, which is causing the current delivery chain chaos in western Sydney.

We also found certificate-qualified, average-income earners in receipt of Family Tax subsidies, working as Tradies, service workers or sales workers, often in mining or manufacturing industries.

Migrant groups strongly represented across regions with low vaccination rates were dominated by the big group of Kiwis, along with those born in Vietnam and Pakistan and followers of Islam or Sikhs.

Across these under-vaccinated groups, we came across many of those belonging to the smaller, evangelical Christian faiths, the sort who elected Kevin Rudd in 2007 and re-elected Scott Morrison in 2019 across a wide range of outer-suburban or regional seats in Queensland and NSW.

These include Christians not fully defined, along with smaller groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and Pentecostals, all of which lined up behind Scott Morrison in 2019.

Again, more narrowcast social media networks could have played a part here with evangelicals, as mainstream Christian faiths were not significant markers for the unvaccinated. These included Catholics, Anglicans, Uniting, Presbyterians and Lutherans.

Jabs by Family Income

Profile of those with time only for One Jab

Those with one jab only represent persons who have recently qualified to join the queue by virtue of age, location or some other criteria, such as state mandates, as well as those more strongly motivated by recent outbreaks in NSW and Victoria to become fully vaccinated.

Given the delay between the first and second jab there’s going to be some overlap between these groups, but looking at the difference between the two rates tells us something about these groups that a competent Government could find useful.

We will keep an eye on these trends, but all that we could glean so far is that the updated eligibility demographics for those aged 40 and above and a widening range of selected groups aged 39 years and below seem to have democratised the vaccine roll out considerably.

Whereas before the vaccine was mainly for the old and the rich, it is now being taken up more by mainstream Australians: low- and middle-income blue-collar families, paying off their own separate home, with two or three kids at public schools and a couple of cars in the garage enabling commutes to two jobs. We’re talking Swinging Voters here folks and they want their kids safely back at school, with teachers and students – starting with high school students – vaccinated.

Even in the last week, we’re also seeing signs of those overlapping working-class demographics dominating western Sydney, shown in darker green on Dr McMullan’s online map: Transport Workers, Clerks, the Unemployed, Arabic-Speaking families, parents of kids at Government schools, migrants from Fiji the Philippines, Lebanon and Pakistan, followers of Islam.

What we are now seeing are glimpses of what could have happened in Australia, if we’d purchased enough supplies of vaccines when we had the chance, allied to a roll-out becoming open to all wanting to be vaccinated. As my favourite Covid statistician, the ABC’s Casey Briggs would say: who’d have thought?

The lessons your humble correspondent – with no pretensions to expert status on covid – would draw from the evidence here, are that the Government should focus pro-vax campaigns on less well-educated persons, blue collar workers and their unions, along with non-English-speaking migrants and those with time on their hands to waste on social media fruitcakes.

Prosecution of a coherent and consistent case from the Coalition Government would be a good start. A bit of old-fashioned national leadership on a policy framework for mandating vaccinations for key workers would help too. And the sort of ticker we saw from John Howard when he fronted up to a crowd of angry gun nuts wearing a bulletproof vest to argue for gun control.


John Black has pioneered demographic and political profiling in Australia since the early 1970s and is a former Labor senator for Queensland. He is Executive Chairman of profiling company Australian Development Strategies and the relevant vax map can be found at https://arcg.is/1DeX1H0


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Rubbery Jobs Figures by John Black, I had a little piece in The Australian today on some of the modelling and mapping work we’ve been doing recently at Education Geographics, mostly for schools.

Rubbery Jobs Figures

Category:Labour Market Tags : 

I had a little piece in The Australian today on some of the modelling and mapping work we’ve been doing recently at Education Geographics, mostly for schools. Australian subscribers can find the link here: https://tinyurl.com/283vk8cy

Distinguished Australian Economist Saul Eslake estimates that closing our international borders to tourists and international students is costing us about $22 billion a year in export income in the medium to longer term, but it’s made the recovery in our unemployment rate look much more dramatic, because it’s sucked out a large slice of the growth in the labour market and left the stimulus focussed on relatively few potential workers.

The problem for the Commonwealth Government now is that it’s been relying on lazy growth to boost GDP for so long, that when it closed our international borders last March, it had no cards left to play, as GDP growth dived into negative territory.

So, the Government and our central bank resorted to expansionary fiscal and monetary policies which basically involved spraying billions into the economy to boost demand in a labour market which had just lost a major source of its recent growth – net overseas migrants and international students in particular.

When we worked out some spatial models for future post-Covid population growth and projected these down to suburb levels, we found the biggest impacts from the border closures were in the suburbs surrounding many of our existing universities, presumably the ones which had been most successful at attracting overseas students. You can see our online national map on these demographic potholes at https://tinyurl.com/hswp2938 )

And then, when we modelled and mapped the new ABS payroll jobs data down to suburbs, we saw a significant loss of jobs since March 2020, were in many of the same heavily impacted University catchments, presumably due to a cut in international students also driving a big spatial drop in demand for things like student accommodation and food and of course, demand for University staff.

So, closing international borders and turning off the supply of international students has reduced both the supply of labour near these Universities and also the demand for labour, shrinking spatial economies significantly. To fix these spatial problems we need a fully vaccinated population, safe quarantine facilities and a progressive re-opening of international movement of visitors and students.

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Education Geographics has been working closely with Australian Development Strategies and Health Geographics to map future spatial population impacts of Covid.

Looking Beyond Covid – Spatially

Category:Education Tags : 

Australia is predicted to lose a million persons in the next few years, when compared to pre-Covid estimates.

These losses are likely to be highest in suburbs near universities which had previously enjoyed strong population growth, due to recent large intakes of foreign students and very high levels of net overseas migration (NOM).

Education Geographics has been working closely with Australian Development Strategies and Health Geographics to map future spatial population impacts of Covid. The work has been mentored by distinguished Australian economist Saul Eslake.

An Esri map provided through this link https://arcg.is/1yX4qD shows our projected Covid impact by SA2 on pre-Covid population estimates.

Marketing Strategies for Schools - Looking beyond covid, spatially, Education Geographics for School Management & Marketing Strategies for education institutions in Australia.

More detailed maps of target areas and numbers will be provided on request to clients of EGS, ADS and HGS.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept new school entrants in Term 1, 2021, but we have limited spaces available for new schools in Term 2.

If your school is ready to plan for your post-Covid future, complete the form below and book an interactive experience with our new 2021 Covid-ready App.

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    What’s in an Age?

    Category:Labour Market Tags : 

    Covid Jobs Update from John Black, CEO of Education Geographics, October 12, 2020

    Some economists, trade unions and the Labor Opposition say the Federal Government’s JobMaker Budget proposal which subsidises wages only for eligible workers less than 35 years old should be open to eligible workers of any age. They argue that the current policy discriminates against older workers and may be open to job substitution rorts from some employers.

    And most Australian voters tend to agree with them.

    This week’s Newspoll finds the age-limited JobMaker measure to be unpopular with 57 percent of all voters, 63 percent of older voters and, worryingly for the Government, a clear majority of (mostly older) Coalition voters. Given their concerns and this lack of public support, Labor and the Greens in the Senate can smell a political opportunity and are lining up to give the enabling legislation the death of a thousand committee cuts.

    In defending its proposal, the Government draws heavily in Budget Papers on seasonally adjusted data in the monthly ABS Labour Force Survey and points to higher unemployment rates among younger workers. It also uses Government figures of 700,000 persons under 35 years on Jobseeker or Youth Allowance at the end of August.

    The problem for the Government in relying on the traditional ABS monthly Labour Force sample of about 50,000 persons is that the series has been sorely tested by the immediate and massive labour market disruption caused by emergency social distancing orders and border closures since mid-March, and then by unprecedented stimulus measures from the Federal Government with JobKeeper and JobSeeker to minimise the impacts of this disruption.

    The reliability of data produced by official sources during this somewhat hectic period is illustrated by the fact that the Taxation Office, Treasury and the Government initially estimated 6.5 million Australians would receive JobKeeper at a cost of $130 billion, only to revise the recipients down to 3.5 million and the cost down to $70 billion.

    So, some degree of caution is recommended when evaluating Government initiatives involving both taxpayers’ money and big numbers of jobs in the labour market.

    Bear in mind here the Labour Force series leverages up a random monthly sample of about 50,000 persons to estimate results for about 13 million Australian workers, which the Government has then used to justify biasing its JobMaker policy in favour of certain age groups less than 35 years old.

    The problem for the Government with JobMaker is that these leveraged results are contradicted by the new experimental ABS series based on weekly ATO payroll figures for about ten million real jobs.

    If you’re trying to understand the behaviour of 13 million workers and break it into smaller sub-groups or areas, you’d expect to be a lot better off using a weekly sample of 10 million jobs, rather than a monthly sample of 50,000 persons.

    Before you do, it’s useful to compare the two series first. See an ABS comparison here: https://www.abs.gov.au/methodologies/weekly-payroll-jobs-and-wages-australia-methodology/week-ending-5-september-2020#differences-to-labour-force-employment-statistics

    Figure 1 below, shows the national summary for age-based August payroll data by index numbers in blue, and a comparable index we constructed for the labour force sample by age groups in green.

    Figure 1 shows, that despite definitional differences, the Payroll jobs and Labour Force Survey index values are similar for (combined) all ages, and for those age groups 20-29, 30-39, 40-49 and 50-59 years, with each group containing between 2.3 and three million workers.

    And both series confirm the twenty-somethings potentially benefiting from the Government JobMaker wage subsidy scheme are up to three percent worse off than the average worker and worthy of some targeted support, with appropriate safeguards.

    A large part of this poor result for twenty somethings is due to the ongoing job lockdowns in Victoria and the Victorian figures pulling down the national results. Clearly, the Commonwealth Government here has thrown a JobMaker lifeline to Victoria, without breaching its obligations to the states which have made a better fist of managing Covid.

    But what about the strong public sentiment in favour of extending JobMaker to other age groups, particularly older Australians? The payroll jobs index shows there has been a 5.2% decline in jobs for 60-69-year-olds. Contrastingly, according to the Labour Force series, there has been only a 0.4% decline in employed persons aged 60 years or more, an age group containing about 1.4 million workers.

    So, the payroll data paints a grim picture for older workers, but the Labour Force data does not.

    We see the reverse picture for the relatively small (about 600,000) group of very young workers aged 15-19 years, with payroll data spot on the national average for all workers, but the Labour Force screaming panic stations, with nearly 13 percent of very young workers losing jobs since the job lockdowns started with the 100th confirmed Coronavirus case in mid-March.

    Thanks to the great work done by the ABS since March with the huge volume of data provided by the Australian Taxation Office in the payroll series we can drill down further than the national figures by age, down into age groups by State, shown below in Table 1.

    This adds the ingredient missing from the national age-based data and that’s Victoria, where the state figures for all ages trail more than three points behind the national figure and the bulk of these job losses have been experienced by workers under 29 years and above 60 years.

    Table 1

    In every state, bar Victoria, the under 20s are back up close to or above the pre-Covid index numbers, while those 70 and over are still well below these figures. When we isolate the bigger groups of those in their 20s and their 60s, the position is shown in Figure 2, below.

    n every state, bar Victoria, the under 20s are back up close to or above the pre-Covid index numbers

    Figure 2

    The evidence here shows that, during a lockdown period, the jobs situation is worst for young people (with lots of jobs lost in food and retail). However, after lockdown, there is faster recovery in the job situation for young people.

    For Australia as a whole:

    • the jobs index value for 60-69-year-olds fell to 93.1 on 18 April and recovered by about two points to 94.8 on 15 Aug.
    • the jobs index value for 20-29-year olds fell drastically to 85.9 on 18 April but also recovered rapidly to 93.8 on 15 Aug.


    in Victoria, which remained in lockdown in August, the jobs index values for both groups have remained low, and are much lower in the younger age group.

    Figure 3 shows the big and prolonged slump for twenty-somethings in Victoria, and an identical slump but subsequent recovery for twenty-somethings in Australia as a whole, which of course includes Victoria. Take out Victoria and the twenty-somethings could be about level or narrowly ahead of their grandparents.

    Figure 3 shows the big and prolonged slump for twenty-somethings in Victoria

    Figure 3

    Put simply, the evidence supported by the millions of taxpayers in the payroll data series infers that the Government doesn’t need a recovery in jobs for young people; rather it needs a recovery in jobs in Victoria, as the latter would render the former done and dusted.

    Your humble correspondent, who has long felt that politicians overreact to the Labour Force stats which show that when a young person loses a job, they join the official unemployment rate and hence dominate news reports, whereas, when an older person loses their job, they tend to leave the official jobs market until they’re sucked back in by local rising demand – particularly for part time tourism and hospitality jobs in regional centres.

    This resonates with the views of University of Melbourne economist Professor Mark Wooden who questioned the Federal Government’s focus on subsidising younger jobs, given the substitution effects which would see young persons prioritised over older workers.

    “I worry if they (the Government) are somewhat sucked in by the argument that young people have been much worse affected economically,” he told the Financial Review after the Budget move was announced.

    “That’s true, but I think that’s true in all recessions. Young people do worse, they lose jobs faster. But they also do better in the recovery.”

    In that case, wage subsidies would have a windfall effect by paying for the employment of workers who would have been hired anyway.

    For what my views are worth here, I’m backing the weekly payroll data interpretation of the current labour market when it comes to its age profile. And, given most Australians and a majority of Coalition voters agree with me, the Government would be wise to accept Senate amendments broadening JobMaker to all Australians.

    “Life is so normal”, the Treasurer reportedly remarked last weekend, after months locked down in Melbourne and quarantined in Canberra, when he visited Sydney and was able to get out of the office and share a coffee with others in Bondi.

    Perhaps he needed to look more closely at the ages of those serving him, as the payroll data shows more jobs for the under 20s in NSW now than there was before the Covid lockdowns.


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    Covid Jobs update from John Black, CEO of Education Geographics, October 6, 2020.

    Newer Isn’t Always Better

    Category:Labour Market Tags : 

    Covid Jobs update from John Black, CEO of Education Geographics, October 6, 2020.

    A week or so back we provided a profile of how the broader Australian stereotypes were faring under Covid jobs lockdowns and today we’re urging a bit of caution when it comes to rushing to judgement on the latest payroll stats – because newer isn’t always better.

    Although they don’t quite put it like this, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and I both agree the payroll stats are like a fine bottle of red … you’re well advised to let them age a little after opening, before taking the first sip and rushing to judgement.

    The official explanation is contained in the recent ABS release on the weekly payroll data for the week ending September 5, where you can see a section called data limitations and revisions. You can find the technical explanations through this link.


    In this section, the bureau stressed that they were trying to help policy makers during these extraordinary times, by releasing data as close as possible to the period when the activity occurred and then make the data as accurate as possible over time, but incorporating new data when it was received.

    This means that the latest data is only about 75 percent to 80 percent complete and can take several months to be fully complete and so the final figures look a lot more attractive after ageing than they do when they’re brand new, as you can see below. Even two weeks of waiting can add one point to the index number for the same release.

    Covid Jobs update from John Black, CEO of Education Geographics, October 6, 2020.

    So far, so good. But what happens when we check out the profile of the 20 to 25 percent of jobs which come late to the party? Let’s check out our two Stereotype Charts for August 8, with the top one based on the original data and the second one also showing the revised data in yellow bars.

    So far, so good. But what happens when we check out the profile of the 20 to 25 percent of jobs which come late to the party?


    Suburban Stereotypes - So far, so good. But what happens when we check out the profile of the 20 to 25 percent of jobs which come late to the party?

    The central thrust of the original data profiles shows the big urban and provincial city Working Families and the younger and more aspirational, outer suburban Swinging Voters both faring relatively well from the impact of the Covid jobs lockdown. By relatively well, we mean relative to a (non-Victorian) Australian average jobs loss of about three percent from mid-March to August 8.

    When we take a close look at the changes in index numbers for individual occupations and the suburb profiles for where they tend to live, we see that the industries which tend to improve after revision include the better-paid ones we often find in the Goat Cheese Circle inner suburbs, such as professional consulting, finance, media and real estate.

    This means our maps for the loss of jobs across inner suburbs tend to look a lot greener after a month or so, after new employer data has been reported from those employers reporting less frequently than every week.

    So, until the ABS has amassed enough single touch payroll data over a few years of relatively stable labour markets, to make regular seasonal adjustments, treat the latest weekly data releases with caution, as the revised data a month or so older, is often more accurate.

    Just like an old vine Barossa Shiraz, big data often improves with ageing.

    Next update, we’ll take a look at the impact of the Federal Budget on those industries most impacted by jobs lockdowns. Talk to you then.




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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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    Total Job Losses Due TO Covid19

    Mapping the impact of Covid downturn

    Category:Health Tags : 

    A co-operative venture between Australian Development Strategies, Health Geographics and Education Geographics has set out to regularly monitor, profile and map big data on jobs and wages from 10,000,000 Australians during the Covid recession.

    The jobs data is now being collected weekly via the Tax Office one touch payroll system and published fortnightly by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    The first of a series of maps has been published today on the three web sites via the following link https://arcg.is/1HeD5n.  It will allow readers to see the impact of the Covid restrictions and monitor changes as they are withdrawn in stages over coming months.

    More detailed maps and profiling will be made available to clients of the three companies ADS, HGS and EGS.

    The first maps published today show most jobs and wages lost by suburb have been close to capital city CBDs, coming as a direct result of the closure of gyms, personal training groups and theatrical productions.

    The biggest per capita loss of jobs has occurred across smaller suburbs in rural and tourist regions like Mount Beauty in Victoria or Port Douglas in far north Queensland.

    Suburbs across Australia relatively unaffected by jobs loss or per capita jobs loss have dominated by public sector jobs, such as Duntroon, Macarthur or Barton in the ACT, in remote indigenous communities like the APY lands in South Australia or Arnhem Land in the NT, or in mining towns like Mount Isa or Weipa in Queensland or Roxby Downs in SA.

    As schools progressively re-open and restrictions are lifted on travel, hospitality and public gatherings, we will monitor the changes in jobs and wages for our readers and clients.