What is the employment situation like in Australia

Australia is recovering from the corona crisis

Australia was able to loosen the corona measures to a large extent. This also leads to a noticeable economic recovery. (As of April 30, 2021)

Australia has the overall infection rate under control. However, the quarantine hotels, in which travelers from abroad have to spend two weeks in self-isolation, are proving to be the Achilles heel. Recently, there have been repeated infections from staff employed there, which in some cases also triggered local chains of infection.

Early intervention has prevented major outbreaks

The authorities react in such cases with quick and decisive action. At the beginning of 2021, short lockdowns were imposed in the metropolises of Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne, which lasted three to five days. Sydney responded to a local outbreak at the end of 2020 by locking off the northeastern neighborhoods for several weeks.

Together with the well-functioning contact tracking systems, it is possible to quickly bring individual sources of infection under control. The Australian states have issued binding rules for digital contact recording. All visitors to shops or restaurants must register using a QR code and an official app. A vaccination campaign started at the end of February 2021.

Everyday life is largely normal

Since strict corona measures only have to be imposed with a local and time limit, daily life in Downunder functions largely normally. Retail and catering can open provided certain distance rules are observed. Cultural and sporting events take place with an audience.

In the Central Business District (CBD) of the financial metropolis of Sydney, activity is increasing significantly, so that the retailers located there and the many small service companies are again looking more optimistically into the future. The CBD contributes seven percent to the generation of GDP.

Further information on the current situation can be found on the websites of the individual states.

Economic recovery takes off

According to the latest information from the national statistical office, the economy contracted by 2.4 percent in real terms in 2020. Due to the extensive easing, the first economic crisis in almost 30 years should soon be history. Australia most recently slipped into recession in 1990.

“The economic upswing is getting under way earlier and stronger than expected. According to new forecasts, economic output should have reached the pre-crisis level again by the end of the first quarter of 2021, "explains Christoph von Speßhardt, Managing Director of AHK Australia.

"In addition to increasing consumer spending, the positive business climate in important export branches such as mining and agriculture will pave the way out of the crisis," said von Speßhardt. Iron ore and gold mining are booming and agriculture is facing a peak harvest.

The forecasts for 2021 have recently been revised upwards. The central bank now expects economic growth of 4 percent for 2021, and the OECD's latest forecast even expects GDP to grow by 4.5 percent.

Unemployment is falling significantly

The positive development is particularly evident on the labor market. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were mass layoffs in retail, hospitality and tourism. In July 2020 the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. There were hundreds of meters of queues outside the Centrelink offices that administer government unemployment benefits. Images Australia hadn't seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As a result of the economic recovery, the jobs lost as a result of the crisis have been fully regained. In March 2021, unemployment fell to 5.6 percent. The number of employees even exceeded the pre-crisis level and rose to a record level of around 13.1 million.

The retail sector is benefiting from the positive development in the employment situation. In the Corona year 2020, sales rose by 2.5 percent in real terms compared to the previous year. Everything that is needed at home was in demand, such as groceries, housewares, furniture or electronics. Large retail chains such as Harvey Norman, JB-HiFi and Bunnings are making high profits. Australians spend around US $ 40 billion a year on holiday trips overseas. Money that is now flowing into local consumption because of the closed border.

The upswing is gaining breadth

The economic recovery has meanwhile reached almost all branches of the economy. Mining in particular can look to the future with optimism. Record production is expected for iron ore and gold in 2021. The increase in demand for battery raw materials and critical minerals is pushing numerous mining projects. Exploration spending on mineral raw materials rose 6.2 percent in 2020.

The energy transition also offers opportunities. In 2020, a record for renewable energies was achieved with installed capacities of 7 gigawatts. The Clean Energy Regulator expects a massive increase in solar roof systems of around 4 gigawatts in 2021 (2020: 3 gigawatts). In addition, there is a boom for large network-connected battery storage systems with planned projects with a capacity of around 8 gigawatts.

The construction industry benefits from financial subsidies for single-family homes as part of the government's economic stimulus measures. Craft businesses are reporting that the order books for renovation work are well-filled. According to a forecast of the Housing Industry Association, the start of construction of apartments is likely to increase by 8.2 percent to around 185,600 units in the 2020/21 financial year. In the following year, however, the market is expected to cool down a little.

In manufacturing, production is picking up significantly. The occupancy rate at the beginning of 2021 was an above-average value of around 78 percent.

In the longer term, however, the tourism and education sectors are likely to suffer from the crisis. Due to the closed borders, there is no income from foreign visitors and students.

By Heiko Stumpf | Sydney