New data has further underscored the devastation the coronavirus shutdowns have wreaked on the arts and hospitality sectors.
Detail of a record drop in job vacancies comes as the International Monetary Fund warns governments an abrupt end to supports such as wage subsidies and increased unemployment payments could delay economic recovery.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Thursday a 43 per cent drop in job vacancies between February and May, with 98,200 fewer jobs on offer.
It’s the largest fall in the survey’s 40-year history.
The arts and recreation industry had about 100 jobs on offer in May – a 95 per cent fall – while vacancies in the accommodation and food services industry dropped by two-thirds.
But there is some cause for optimism with data from Australia’s biggest employment website, Seek, showing online job ads jumped by nearly 22 per cent over the past fortnight.
However, those ad numbers are still less than 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
Further data shows the hit on superannuation funds and shareholdings from a sharemarket spooked by the coronavirus was behind a fall in average household wealth in the March quarter.
Average household wealth dropped by 2.3 per cent to $428,585 per person over the first three months of the year – the largest fall since September 2011.
The International Monetary Fund says a gradual exit from targeted fiscal supports is vital “to avoid precipitating sudden income losses and bankruptcies just as the economy is beginning to regain its footing”.
Its June world economic outlook says measures such as wage subsidies and widened criteria for unemployment payments should be replaced by public investment to accelerate the recovery, and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Governments should also expand social safety nets, subsidise businesses to take on workers, and put more money into training.
The IMF is now projecting a deeper global recession, shrinking by 4.9 per cent this year, and a slower recovery than it did in April.
IMF economic counsellor Gita Gopinath puts the deterioration down to worse-than-anticipated outcomes in the first half of the year and more persistent social distancing measures in the back end.
But the fund upgraded its outlook for Australia by 2.2 points.
The IMF now forecasts Australia’s economy will shrink by 4.5 per cent in 2020 and grow by four per cent in 2021.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says this is a stark contrast with other nations.
“According to the IMF, the economic outlook for Australia is the second-best among all advanced economies, second only to (South) Korea.”
A separate analysis from ANU economists Warwick McKibbin and Roshen Fernando has found under a best-case scenario where the virus is quickly contained, Australia’s economy would take a $170 billion hit this year.
They also looked at the impact if Australia contained the virus quickly but other countries had several waves of infections, saying if this happened, the economy would likely take a $185 billion hit.