Just how bad is the crisis in the jobs market? Economics have made predictions but now there’s one ominous sign – that SEEK ads plunged almost two thirds from April 2019.

Compared with the first week of April last year, new job ads are down 65.3 per cent.

“The collapse in job advertising in Australia should come as no surprise given the unprecedented drop in activity in the economy,” said NAB economist Tapas Strickland.

“This has been similar to the trends seen in other labour market indicators globally.”

The biggest drop came in sports and recreation, which was down 97.7 per cent, while the healthcare and medical sector fell 39.4 per cent.

The sector with the lowest fall was mining, resources and energy with a 29.7 per cent drop.

However it was not all bad news. Seek managing director Kendra Banks thinks some of this is attributable to large companies such as Qantas redeploying staff to other roles.

Also more than half (53 per cent) of Australians still feel optimistic about their future job prospects.


Are rollbacks the magic cure?

It goes without saying much of the cause of this crisis is COVID-19 containment measures.

So will unemployment fall once restrictions end ? Strickland urged the optimists not to think so fast.

“The key for the outlook remains how quickly the spread of the virus can be controlled as this will likely lead to some rollback of containment measures, leading to higher activity including in the labour market.

“We are starting to see some encouraging signs here with the virus appearing to have peaked in Australia in early April.

“Any prospective rollback may be gradual given the risks of a second wave of infections with the government balancing the costs and benefits of various containment measures.”

He also noted China had lifted internal containment measures. Meanwhile a handful of countries are planning for it soon including Austria, Denmark and Italy.