UnionsWA has today commented on the release by the Australians Bureau of Statistics of data on wages and jobs in WA and nationally since the commencement of the pandemic. The figures show that Western Australia’s economic downturn has been more severe than elsewhere in Australia and that, within WA, the Inner Perth, Wheatbelt, Bunbury and outback WA have been most severely impacted. UnionsWA has called for the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payment programs to continue to a significant extent or entirely.
Owen Whittle, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“This ABS data highlights the particularly challenging economic impact of the pandemic in WA.
“Over 15 weeks from 14 March to 27 June this year wages in WA fell by 5.4% in WA, significantly worse than the fall in wages nationally of 3.2%.
“Over the same period jobs in WA fell 6.2%, slightly worse than the national average fall of 5.7%.
“The ABS, in charting wage and job changes over time in WA and nationally, allows us to identify the important and positive impact of the JobKeeper program from early May.
“When JobKeeper began, jobs started to rise instead of fall.
“It is too early to tell whether the very recent falls in jobs is the beginning of a new economic decline or due to other factors, but this is a concern.
"This ABS data also sheds light on the impact of the pandemic related recession on jobs in regional WA.
"Job losses over the period from 14 March and 30 May have been greatest in inner and western suburbs Perth, down 8.5%, but also in non-metropolitan WA with Bunbury job losses at 7.9%, the Wheatbelt down 7.9% and outback WA down 7.2%.
“The JobKeeper and JobSeeker payment programs are scheduled to cease in September.
“The JobSeeker payment has been vital to those that have lost work, ensuring that they are not forced to lose their homes or live in poverty.
“If JobSeeker is not at least significantly restored then many tens of thousands of unemployed West Australians will go onto the old Allowance rate of $40 a day.
“The return to a $40 a day rate of NewStart would be devastating for the WA economy and for working people.
“These figures are a reality check – these programs are still needed and should continued to a large extent or else there will be great harm caused in the community and in WA more than elsewhere in Australia.”
"6160.0.55.001 - Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia, Week ending 27 June 2020" is available online here. The Chart above copied from the “State and Territories Spotlight” spreadsheet, also via that link.