Australian think-tank the Grattan Institute has released three new trackers, or charts, that offer an up-to-date glance at what the economy looks like right now.
The Morrison government has thrown the kitchen sink at the domestic economy, with $320 billion in stimulus measures designed to cushion the damage.
The Grattan Institute’s charts are regularly updated with the latest statistics to form a quick view of how many jobs have been lost and where, the number of businesses that have been affected, and how consumers are feeling.
The impact of Covid-19 to the Australian economy has been described as the worst since the Great Depression by both the RBA Governor Philip Lowe and the Grattan Institute in a separate report.
Where jobs have been lost
Workers from the retail and hospitality sector have taken the biggest hit by far, followed by the arts and recreation industry.
Teachers and educators appear to have been least-hard hit, according to the chart.
“There has been a very significant overnight loss of jobs concentrated in those sectors that have been shutdown by the health measures,” Grattan Institute budget policy and institutional reform program director Danielle Wood told Yahoo Finance.
“The very sharp rise in interest in unemployment related Google searches and fall in job postings all suggest some pretty ugly unemployment numbers to come.”
How businesses have been affected
Business activity in every corner of the economy has taken a hit of some kind, Wood said. “And not just because of the direct effect of social distancing restrictions; the effects of lower demand are also starting to bite right across the economy.”
Those in the retail and hospitality sector look to be hardest-hit, with more than 80 per cent of these suffering from either reduced demand or government restrictions. Education providers have also taken a major hit, as well as the arts sector.
The utilities sector has taken less of a hit, Wood noted. “Unlike other countries, electricity use has held up, partly because we’ve kept open manufacturing and construction sectors.”
Consumer confidence in free fall
Consumer confidence is at its lowest level that it’s ever been, and is lower than even what it was during the Great Depression.
“Consumer confidence is at its lowest level in 50 years, and the fear is that if consumers are feeling highly uncertain there will be big second round economic effects from the shutdown,” said Wood, adding that we will also likely see house price falls come through soon.
“Mobility in almost all locations such as transport hubs, retail – other than grocery and pharmacy – and workplaces is sharply down suggesting that distancing restrictions have had a sizeable impact on the way people go about their lives.
“None of this is particularly pretty, we certainly hope once restrictions start slowly being lifted we will see some more positive news in the data but a big turnaround anytime soon is unlikely.”