15,000 jobs lost in Northern NSW during pandemic

NORTHERN NSW has lost more than 15,000 jobs in all areas of the local economy between February and May 2020, new data shows.

The Tweed, Byron Bay, Ballina, Clarence Valley, Richmond Valley, Lismore and Kyogle council areas of Northern NSW supported 107,411 jobs back in February 2020, with an annual economic output of $32.505 billion for the region.

Australian company Remplan, in a report for Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers, estimated the job losses.

"Prior to COVID-19 and the introduction of social lockdown measures to manage the pandemic, the total employment across all local industry sectors was estimated at 107,411," Remplan explained.

"For May 2020, total employment is estimated at 91,940, a fall of 14.4 per cent."

That a total of 15,471 jobs that vanished from our local economy in three months.

A Remplan spokesperson said workers on JobKeeper were considered employed and were not included in the number of jobs lost, and there was no differentiation between full-time and part-time workers in their modelling.

The greatest decrease in employment in the area was in accommodation and food services.

Job losses per sector:

1. Accommodation and food services: 3567 (from 10,320 to 6753 jobs)

2. Retail trade: 3281 (from 13,455 to 10,174 jobs)

3. Health care and social assistance: 1893 (from 18,632 to 16,739 jobs)

4. Education and training: 1418

5. Other services: 958

6. Transport, postal and warehousing: 920

7. Construction: 897

8. Manufacturing: 631

9. Arts and recreation services: 533

10. Administrative and support services: 251.

Business NSW regional manager, Jane Laverty, said there were positives to look forward to if COVID outbreaks stayed under control in NSW and locally.

"If we can get through the next three months and we contain the virus, as we come through September, we would love to see restrictions starting to ease again for business, particularly the 4sqm rule moving into a 2sqm for physical distancing," she said.

"But also business and industry, we also have a responsibility to put in place our COVID safety plans, because our future will really depend on us managing those virus numbers."

Ms Laverty said she was not surprised by the data, but also explained the situation had been changing fast between May and now.

"I'm not surprised to see that the area most impacted is the accommodation and food services sector," she said.

"That's a large sector of our tourism industry, a group of businesses that had to go into hibernation literally overnight.

"We are staring to see some recovery on those job numbers, but it will be a long time before we go back to where we were in March 2020.

"We're seeing some responsiveness from the Federal Government with the extension of JobKeeper, and we have also seen important responses from the State Government with support for small businesses."



The greatest decrease in Northern NSW employment between February to May was in Accommodation & Food Services, according to data from Remplan.
The greatest decrease in Northern NSW employment between February to May was in Accommodation & Food Services, according to data from Remplan.


The report, was based on ABS 2016 Census, Rempan's ABEIS Survey, ABS Weekly Payroll Jobs & Wages and Grattan Institute, among others.

The Australian Business Economic Impact Survey (ABEIS), completed by Remplan, is an ongoing national survey measuring the impact and resilience of businesses during the covid pandemic.

Back in May, Remplan confirmed Northern NSW businesses had endured a 29 per cent downfall on their revenue.


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