Private Sector Smashed While Bureaucrats Flourish In Lockdown

Written by:
13 August 2020
Private Sector Smashed While Bureaucrats Flourish In Lockdown - Featured image

More than 604,000 private sector jobs have been destroyed since lockdowns were introduced in March while 14,000 jobs have been added to the public sector according to an analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today by the Institute of Public Affairs.

  • Private sector jobs declined by 5% between 14 March and 25 July while public sector jobs increased by 1.7%.
  • This means that 604,312 private sector jobs were destroyed while 13,989 jobs were added in the public sector between 14 March and 25 July.
  • The loss of 604,312 private sector jobs translates into $725 million in lost wages each week.
  • The gain of 13,989 jobs in the public sector translates into $21 million in additional wages paid each week.
  • Applied from 14 March to 25 July, this indicates that the private sector lost $14.5 billion in wages while the public sector gained $420 million in wages.
  • Public sector jobs are defined as those in the “public administration and safety” industry, as classified by the ABS. Workers in these industries are not front-line medical staff who are instead counted in the “heath care and social assistance” industrial classification.

Comments attributable to Cian Hussey, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The differences between the two Australias have never been so stark. Those working in the public sector have been insulated from the job losses occurring in the productive, private sector.”

“It is clear that we are not all in this together. There is no concept of shared sacrifice amongst the public sector workforce.”

“The Australian way of life, which is based on hard work, aspiration, reward for effort, and entrepreneurship will endure, but it is under attack like never before.”

“Not only are public sector workers better off than private sector workers, but it is those in the public sector who decide when those in the private sector can go back to work. This is a serious moral hazard where those responsible for imposing the lockdown measures do not suffer the consequences of those measures.”

“All politicians and senior public servants earning over $150,000 a year should take an immediate 20% pay cut to share in the sacrifice made by the private sector.”

“By refusing to acknowledge the suffering that mainstream Australians in the private sector are experiencing, politicians and senior public servants are compounding the differences between the two Australias.”

Previous IPA research found that 74 per cent of Australians support a 20% pay cut for politicians and senior public servants who are paid $150,000 or more.

Note: This analysis is based on an IPA analysis published in May. A “payroll job” is defined by the ABS as: “a relationship between an employee and their employing enterprise, where the employee is paid in the reference week through STP-enabled payroll or accounting software and reported to the ATO”. In other words, it counts only those who are employees, and so excludes sole-traders. The public sector is assumed to be the “public administration and safety” industry. The private sector is conservatively referred to as all industries, excluding “public administration and safety”. The index shown here was created by adjusting the ABS’s Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia index based on the weight of each industry found in the ABS’s Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly cat. no. 6291. All calculations were made using the latest available data. Wages were calculated using the ABS’s Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, cat. no. 6302.

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