Aussies Getting Back to Work: ABS Survey

June 29, 2020 Updated: June 29, 2020

Australians are slowly getting back to work – and even back into the office – following the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Sixty one per cent of Australians aged 18 and over had a job working paid hours in mid-June, a survey has found, the first time the portion of working Aussies has ticked over 60 per cent since early March.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics surveyed about 1,000 Australians by telephone from June 10 and June 15 to determine the economic impacts of efforts to contain the novel coronavirus.

It’s the sixth time the same group of people have been surveyed each fortnight as part of the longitudinal study.

In early March, 64 percent of respondents were working paid hours but that dipped to 55.8 percent in early April and has stayed under 60 percent since.

Another 3.5 percent of respondents in the most recent survey said they had a job but were not working paid hours, compared to 7.6 percent in early April.

The jobs statistics are not directly comparable to Australia’s official labour force statistics, which involve a much larger sample of people being asked more complicated questions about their employment situation.

Of those with jobs, 60 percent attended their workplace in person in the last week, with another 18 percent intending to do so in the next four weeks.

Eight percent of those surveyed said they were receiving the temporary coronavirus supplement of $550 a fortnight, in addition to their usual payments, and 11 percent said they were currently receiving the $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper Payment from their employer.

Of those getting the JobKeeper payments, about half were receiving less income than their usual pay, one third were receiving about the same and one-in-five were receiving more.

The ABS asked recipients of both the JobKeeper payments and the coronavirus supplements how they were using the benefits, and used their responses to form a word cloud.

“Household bills,” “mortgage/rent,” “food/drink” and “saving it” were the most popular responses, but “alcoholic beverages” featured in both word clouds.