One in three people in Sydney have lost employment hours or their job completely during the extended COVID-19 lockdown, a survey has found.
A poll of 1002 Greater Sydney residents conducted by online financial broker Savvy in August found that 12 percent of respondents lost their job, and 22 percent were working reduced hours.
Financial wellbeing, therefore, fell, with almost half of the respondents saying their savings had reduced, while 35 percent were living paycheque to paycheque.
Savvy noted that the numbers were a cause for concern once they were extrapolated to the 5.3 million residents of Greater Sydney.
On the other hand, 19 percent of respondents said they were saving more during the lockdown, especially the 18 to 24-year-old cohort.
Savvy managing director Bill Tsouvalas said a shadow pandemic of indebtedness and insolvency could occur unless the economy re-opens or more financial support is provided.
“As we all know, the longer this goes on and the less income we can all generate through productive work, the more it puts our economy in a precarious position,” Tsouvalas said. “All these measures will inevitably make people worse off financially the longer this continues.”
He highlighted that almost 30 percent of respondents said their savings could only last them one more month.
“If lockdowns continue without additional support from government or elsewhere, Australians may have no Christmas to look forward to in a financial sense,” Tsouvalas said. “Something must be done to balance the economic cost with the health benefits of continuing lockdown.”
Both the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and market research company Roy Morgan have reported a drop in the unemployment rate in their most recent data releases. However, it was driven by a contraction in the labour market as people stopped looking for work.
“The broader picture shows this [falling unemployment] is not due to increasing jobs but rather the impact of lockdowns directly impacting over half of the Australian population,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said.
The ABS reported a 4.6 percent unemployment rate for July, while Roy Morgan reported an unemployment figure of 9.5 percent for August.
Roy Morgan notes that the ABS counted 388,000 Australians who worked zero hours as employed due to economic or other reasons, such as being out of work due to lockdowns.