Australian Statistician launches new analytical series

Today I am launching The Australian Statistician’s analytical paper series. This series will present analysis of topical economic and/or social issues as captured in ABS data, enabling a wider or more in-depth view than can be presented in standard ABS publications, feature articles and ‘Spotlights’.

The first paper in the series, released today, is the summary article “Droughts, fires, cyclones, hailstorms and a pandemic – the March Quarter 2020”.

The March quarter of 2020 will be remembered for a succession of extreme events in Australia. Drought, severe bushfires, cyclones, hailstorms and the outbreak of a global pandemic dominated the first quarter of the new decade.

Cumulatively, the extraordinary conditions that shaped the March quarter disrupted almost every aspect of Australian society and the economy. Measuring the impact of these events was critically important to give the Australian people, businesses and government an accurate evidence base to make informed decisions.

As Australia’s national statistical organisation, the ABS plays a leading role in measuring an economy facing such pressures.

While ABS ‘rapid response’ surveys helped to meet the immediate demand for timely information, the range of regular ABS statistical publications continued to provide the benchmarks for measurement of the Australian economy.

This article brings together data from key ABS economic statistical releases such as the National and International Accounts, the Labour Force Survey, price indexes, government finance statistics, lending indicators and ABS business surveys to provide a comprehensive record of how the Australian economy weathered the events of the March quarter.

This crucial baseline data will provide the foundation for future comparisons and analysis, as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold in subsequent quarters.

Dr David Gruen
Australian Statistician
15 June 2020