ABS responds to COVID-19
The ABS is committed to delivering timely and accurate information about the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Australian society and the economy.
We are producing a range of existing and new statistical products, providing relevant insights on households, employment and industry to inform government, business and community responses to the pandemic.
New statistical releases will provide information on:
- Business impacts such as cash flow and turnover
- Additional monthly analysis on hours worked, including reasons for working less hours, and quarterly hours worked analysis by industry
- Preliminary retail turnover data
- Interactive employment maps
- Preliminary import and export data
- COVID-related employment and health implications for households
- Additional analysis of short term overseas visitors and international students
- Interactive age and health conditions population maps
- Confidentialised microdata for Australian businesses will be made available for researchers through TableBuilder so they can produce tables, graphs and maps.
New data sources to inform official statistics in response to COVID-19
The ABS has explored administrative and transactions data from the public and private sector to inform official social and economic statistics during COVID-19.
The ABS is currently working to explore:
- Bank transactions data – aggregated, de-identified transactions data from major banks to generate public value by informing official ABS estimates of business sales, household consumption and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and assist in understanding the evolution of the Australian economy.
- Energy consumption data – to understand how electricity usage is changing for businesses and households at an area level, and to understand power as a consumption item. Early research can be seen here: Using electricity data to understand COVID-19 impacts
- Mobility data – samples of aggregated, de-identified data on mobility and location from a commercial provider, based on mobile device GPS, to assess the value of these types of data to inform short-term population movements.
This investigation also made use of publicly available, device-based location data published by Apple and Google, and pedestrian counter data published by the City of Melbourne. No data was sourced from the Australian Government's COVIDSafe app.
Further information on this investigation will be available in an upcoming "Methodology News" article due to be published early 2021.
The ABS is committed to upholding the privacy, confidentiality and security of the information it collects. The ABS is an independent statutory authority established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 and is well positioned in the Commonwealth to collect this information.
COVID-19 stories and case studies
- Story: One year of COVID-19 – Aussie jobs, business & the economy, 17 March 2021. A timeline of significant COVID-19 events and statistical and economic insights over the last year.
- Story: How Aussies reacted in a year of COVID-19, 17 March 2021. A personal look at the impact of COVID-19 on our health, wellbeing and lifestyle.
- Case study: Innovation in a time of crisis - The Australian Bureau of Statistics' response to COVID-19, 29 May 2020
- Interview: The race for real-time pandemic data - The Conversation, 4 June 2020
- New mortality statistics and other information to measure COVID-19 impacts, 27 May 2020
- ABS exploring new data sources to inform official statistics in response to COVID-19, 22 May 2020
- Speech: Measuring the Impacts of COVID-19 - Briefing to the Australian Business Economists
- Statistical work program changes in response to COVID-19, 22 April 2020
- New labour market information, 14 April 2020
- Further ABS information to measure coronavirus impacts, 31 March 2020
- Additional ABS products to help measure the economic impact of the coronavirus, 16 March 2020
Media releases, articles and statements
- How the Australian Bureau of Statistics became our secret weapon in the coronavirus pandemic, ABC News Online, 10 March 2021
- New high frequency ABS products help measure the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, 11 June 2020
- ABS thanks survey respondents, 11 May 2020
- ATO-ABS partnership delivers COVID-19 jobs statistics, 20 April 2020
- Measuring the labour market impacts of COVID-19, 15 April 2020
Protecting households, businesses and staff
The ABS is prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, as well as households and businesses providing information to the ABS. We encourage participation online or by phone. More information is available for survey respondents.