Lockdowns implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have permanently disfigured the economy, according to a new report from free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. The report, Economic Scars: How the lockdowns have permanently disfigured the Australian economy, is based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Social Services and contains evidence of the long-term effects of lockdowns.
The first key finding is that the number of Australians receiving unemployment payments remains unchanged, even as lockdown measures are lifted. There are currently 1.45 million Australians receiving JobSeeker, double the pre-lockdown level and less than 1% lower than the peak in May. Even in Western Australia, where lockdown measures were lifted faster than any other state, the number of people receiving JobSeeker remains almost 65% higher than in March.
The second key finding is that 89% of the net jobs created since May have been part-time. Only 21% of all full-time jobs lost as a result of lockdowns have been restored, while 76% of part-time job losses have been restored.
The third key finding is that between 14 March and 5 September 19,700 new public servants were hired, while 607,000 private sector workers have lost their job. This means that for each public servant hired 30 private sector workers lost their job.
“It was never going to be possible to hibernate the economy without inflicting permanent damage. Lockdown measures, which were pushed by those in the bureaucratic and political elite, have devastated mainstream Australians, robbing them of their jobs, incomes and basic freedoms,” said Cian Hussey, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.
“Lockdowns were never a long-term solution to managing the risk posed by COVID-19. They have led to two Australias: mainstream Australians in the productive, private economy and the class of protected public sector bureaucrats. For every new public servant hired since March, 30 private sector workers have been forced out of work.”
“Governments must lift all remaining lockdown measures and replace them with proportionate, risk-based, targeted measures based on maintaining medical capacity. The elimination strategy currently being pursued means no jobs, no freedom, and no hope for mainstream Australians,” said Mr Hussey.
Previous IPA research highlighted that the elimination strategy pursued through lockdowns would cost $319 billion in lost economic output, and detailed an alternative strategy of based on medical capacity.
Download the report.