Charting the recovery in the Australian economy

Media Release
Released
29/03/2021

The recovery in the Australian economy through the December quarter is explored in a new Australian Statistician's Analytical Series article ‘A second quarter of strong recovery – the December quarter 2020’.

The article is the fourth in the series and completes the story of the Australian economy through 2020.

The Australian Statistician, Dr David Gruen, said: “Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) were essential in charting Australia’s economic recovery over the September and December quarters.

“Just about every ABS statistical release included charts showing how unprecedented the economic shock was in the first half of 2020, and then how unprecedented the recovery was in the second half of the year.

“Gross domestic product recovered by 3.1 per cent, following a 3.4 per cent increase in the September quarter, but remained 1.1 per cent below December quarter 2019.

“Employment increased by 310,000 people (2.5 per cent) over the quarter and hours worked rose by 3.8 per cent. By the end of the year, employment was around 0.9 per cent below March, and hours down by 1.6 per cent. 

“The level of support from governments continued to be high, but reduced in the December quarter. JobKeeper support decreased by around two-thirds, from $35.8 billion in the September quarter to $11.9 billion, and the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers program halved, from $13.5 billion to $6.7 billion.”

The recovery continued to vary by industry, with service industries, like Accommodation and food services, continuing to be the most affected. Only nine of the 19 industries had higher levels of output (as measured by gross value added) than December quarter 2019.

The article also highlights the extent of recovery in Victoria over the December quarter, with less pronounced differences in state and territory recovery by the end of the year.

 “Victoria was in focus in many of our statistical releases during the September quarter, given the major impacts from Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19 infections and the related restrictions. During the December quarter, most of our releases highlighted the strong recovery in Victoria.

“State final demand, employment and hours recovered strongly in Victoria, but its total recovery continued to be weaker than the other states.”

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