ANZ Senior Economist, Catherine Birch, commented:
Job Ads dropped more than 10% in March, the largest monthly fall since January 2009, during the GFC. Most of the fall occurred over the second half of March as Australian COVID-19 cases escalated, restrictions on movement tightened, and
shutdowns of non-essential services broadened. There are some areas where demand for labour may have increased, including health care, supermarkets, and some parts of manufacturing and financial services. But overall, demand for labour is likely to pull back further as the shutdowns continue.
Prior to the JobKeeper payment announcement, we forecast that more than 1.1m workers could lose their jobs and the unemployment rate could rise to a peak of 13% in Q2 from its current 5.1%. However, we think the JobKeeper payment will keep more workers employed and reduce the peak in unemployment – the economic version of “flattening the curve”.