Australian labour demographic changes under the reduced mobility of COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The geographic mobility of labour has long facilitated a well-functioning labour market for Australia, being of particular importance in skill-matching and jobs in regional economies. Disrupting the long-distance labour commute, COVID-19 border closures and community lockdowns had an immediate and significant impact on Australian labour market demographies.
Aims: This paper aims to understand Australian labour demographies and provide an empirical understanding of how regions, and their respective states and territories, faired through the pandemic.
Data and methods: Using Australian Bureau of Statistics SA4 level labour participation and unemployment data, the paper highlights regional changes between 2018 and 2021 - being periods immediately before and after the emergence of COVID-19. Its analysis is contextualised by the respective state and territory and employment conditions underpinning labour demand via proxies of gross national product and state and territory gross product, gross real income and job vacancy.
Results: The paper finds variations in labour demographies are dependent on regional industry economic profiles between and within states and territories. This was in part due to state and territory lockdown and border closure policies as well as respective industry economic profiles.
Conclusions: A more comprehensive mapping and understanding of labour demographical shifts over time will better capture the trajectories of regional labour markets, This will enable better targeting of specific policy outcomes at various levels of government, including to encourage industry diversity, support labour reskilling and the uptake of technologies. Such policies will be better placed to assist Australian labour demographic transitions post-COVID and efficient labour market functioning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Population Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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