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Small Business Workers Smashed By Lockdowns

Written by
9 November 2020

Small business workers continue to suffer heavy job losses and the divide between the two Australias has widened, according to analysis released today by free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

The analysis, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, shows that 325,500 small business workers lost their job in the first three weeks of October while 44,500 big business workers were hired.

Note: Small businesses are those with fewer than 20 employees, medium businesses are those with between 20 and 199 employees, big businesses are those with 200 or more employees.
“The divide between small businesses and big businesses poses a threat to the Australian way of life. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the lifeblood of communities across the country, but they continue to suffer disproportionately even as lockdown measures are eased,” said Cian Hussey, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.

“Small businesses embody the Australian way of life, which is based on hard work, reward for effort, risk taking, and creating value for the community,” said Mr Hussey.

Every state and territory saw small businesses shed jobs, demonstrating the long-lasting impacts of lockdown measures.

“States that lifted lockdown measures early are experiencing waves of small business job losses. This shows that lockdowns caused significant disruption and will leave scars for years to come.”

“Economies cannot be switched off and on again at the push of a button, and Premiers should commit to never again imposing such destructive lockdown measures.”

Additional IPA analysis shows that the divide between the two Australias, embodied in the private and public sectors, continues to grow. Since 14 March, 605,900 private sector workers have been thrown out of work while 23,700 public sector workers have been hired. This means that for every new public servant hired, 25 private sector workers have lost their job.

“The difference between the public and private sectors could not be starker. While mainstream Australians have lost their jobs at a record rate, the bloated bureaucracy continues to swell. This recession is entirely a small business, private sector one – bureaucratic and big business elites remain unaffected,” said Mr Hussey.

Previous IPA research has highlighted the long-term impacts of lockdown measures, which have left state economies disfigured even after they are lifted.

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Cian Hussey

Cian Hussey is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

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