In January 2020, the first person tested positive for COVID-19 in Australia. By mid-March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. Shortly after, the Australian Government announced various safety measures to protect Australians against COVID-19 and state and territory governments implemented a range of health orders that had immediate impacts on the labour market. At the end of March 2020, the Australian Government announced the JobKeeper program.
Over the June quarter 2020, the effects of COVID-19 on the labour market were almost immediately evident. Compared with the March quarter, the total number of jobs held over the quarter fell by 285,000.
Measuring quarterly jobs and income in Jobs in Australia
This article is based on a new quarterly analysis of the Linked Employer-Employee Dataset (LEED) and presents information on the impact on the June quarter 2020 labour market of the initial set of restrictions and lockdowns resulting from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. Prior to this, analysis of this data has been focused on annual changes.
The LEED includes annual information about the number and nature of filled jobs in Australia, the people who hold them, and their employers. The annual data are released as part of Jobs in Australia (JIA) each year. Most job records are for employee jobs, which are based on Payment Summary data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reported by employers with a start and end date. This information has been used in the analysis in this article. As start and end date information underpins quarterly analysis, only employee jobs with a job duration (the number of days between the start date and end date) are included in this article.
In the quarterly analysis, a job was counted if it had a job duration of at least one day within the quarter. The job’s quarterly income was derived by dividing the total reported job income by the job duration to get a daily rate, and then multiplying this rate by the number of days that the job existed for within the quarter. Using these methods, the quarterly measure of jobs is a ‘flow’ measure (rather than a point-in-time 'stock' measure, such as in Labour Force statistics and in the Labour Account). Therefore, employed persons or employees in the quarter are those who had at least one job at any time in that quarter (which will be higher than the stock estimates in other ABS labour statistics).
JobKeeper payments received from employers as part of wages and salaries are included in employee income.
For further information on JIA methodology please see Jobs in Australia methodology.