The extent of the art industry’s smashing during the coronavirus crisis has been laid bare by new data showing demand has all but disappeared.
Government restrictions have hit almost every business in the arts and recreation sector – 94 per cent – the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports on Monday.
And five in six operators in the sector say demand has dropped and their cash flow has taken a serious hit.
About three in five arts businesses have applied for the JobKeeper wage subsidy. Those who didn’t apply were the most likely to say none of their employees met the eligibility criteria.
Many have pointed out that the nature of work in the arts – often with lots of short-term contracts – means few people in the industry would have been with a single employer for longer than 12 months and thus be eligible for the subsidy scheme.
Last week’s ABS data showed arts was the only sector where fewer than half of businesses were currently operating.
The only sector with a higher proportion of businesses reporting a drop in demand was accommodation and food services.
Three-quarters of accommodation and food providers had applied for the JobKeeper scheme.
Across the board, three in five businesses say they have or will register for the scheme, and more than two in five said the government’s wage subsidy offer had influenced their decision to keep staff on during the downturn.
While nearly three-quarters of businesses expect to face a hit to cash flow over the next two months, fewer than one in 10 said this was behind their decision not to apply for JobKeeper.
Meanwhile, the number of jobs advertised more than halved in April – record monthly drop – new figures from ANZ showed.
Building approvals also fell, dipping by four per cent in March.