Coronavirus has forced Australia into a period of “hibernation”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.
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The virus has seen firms from small businesses to listed companies close doors, but some sectors have been completely wiped out, new hiring data from LinkedIn revealed on Monday.
The education sector has seen a 25.6 per cent fall in the hiring rate, while consumer goods is hiring at a 11.7 per cent lower rate.
And the recreation and travel industry has also seen its hiring rate fall 10.8 per cent.
Airlines like Qantas and Virgin Australia have collectively stood down nearly 40,000 workers, while the government last week announced restaurants and cafes could only serve takeaway, while pubs and clubs were to be closed entirely.
However, the education sector has been struggling since February, when Australia announced any traveller who had recently been to China would be required to spend at least 14 days in another country before being granted entry to Australia.
Many of Australia’s international students from China were affected by the policy, which was later tightened to effectively shut off all international tourism. Universities were also forced to push back term cycles and conduct classes off campus.
“LinkedIn’s hiring data shows a gradual decline in year on year hiring growth in Australia, with a sharp drop towards the end of last week,” senior director of APAC talent solutions at LinkedIn Adam Gregory said.
That dip will worsen in the next few weeks as travel bans and new restrictions on social gatherings continue to bite into the Australian economy.
“Such restrictions have also significantly impacted service sectors such as tourism, retail and food services,” Gregory added.
Around 133,000 Australians working in the tourism industry could lose their jobs due to Covid-19, a report from the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) found in February.
LinkedIn’s findings echo earlier results from the National Australia Bank.
“For Australia, the immediate impact is likely to be on exports, with travel restrictions weighing on the education and tourism sectors,” NAB said in mid-March.
Retail and construction are the two other sectors tipped to be hit hard, according to NAB.
What about a recession?
It’s likely the Covid-19 crisis will tip us into a recession. According to Indeed analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data published last year, during the 1990-91 recession, the 1996-97 downturn, the 2008-09 downturn and the 2013 downturn, only 9.5 per cent of occupations saw a fall in employment.
However, 23 per cent of occupations saw employment drop over three of the four downturns, while 37 per cent of jobs saw a fall in employment during two of the four downturns.
The worst affected over those downturns were tradies, manufacturing workers, CEOs, finance workers, drivers and farmers.
But there’s hope
The hiring rate in China is beginning to improve, LinkedIn recorded, after the country aggressively shut down most activity and stemmed the spread. This suggests economic activity can resume once the worst of the virus has passed, LinkedIn said.
“It is really important for job seekers to continue to invest their time in learning during this time so they can develop as many transferable skills as they can which can potentially increase their job prospects,” Gregory said.
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