The $90b JobKeeper wage subsidy ended and the zombies fell
The JobKeeper Payment supported businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and finished on 28 March 2021.
There were just over 1 million workers on JobKeeper in Australia when the subsidy ended. It was hard to imagine that there wouldn’t be a resulting fallout. Insolvency laws that were removed during the pandemic were reintroduced in full force and the money stopped. Zombie businesses relying 100% on JobKeeper life support, some of them never having reopened in the first place but instead continued paying staff through the wage subsidy began to topple.
KPMG projected that around 100,000 workers would lose their jobs. In the the first month following the change, 56,000 jobs were lost. Whilst job loss is never good, this is a remarkable outcome considering the circumstances and the envy of other world economies.
JobKeeper propped up 3.6 million workers during the height of the pandemic and the dramatic recovery of our economy has seen many sectors thrive since.
Our unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% in June 21 according to Labour Force Australia and is predicted to continue its decline. Jodie Patron from KPMG says ‘the headline of today’s ABS jobs figure is very positive – the lowest unemployment rate for a decade’. Many jobs lost following JobKeeper have been sucked up into other streams of the economy.
For all the negative press around JobKeeper, looking back, the scheme was an incredible success story.