As a result of ongoing lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne household spending across Australia has dropped for the first month in a row.

Retail sales in Australia dropped 1.7 percent for the month of August when compared to the sales from a month earlier. Sales in New South Wales dropped 3.5 percent which is the lowest figures recorded since April 2020.

“Retail turnover continues to be negatively impacted by lockdown restrictions, with each of the eastern mainland states experiencing falls in line with their respective level of restrictions. In direct contrast, states with no lockdowns performed well with Western Australia and South Australia enjoying strong rises,” said Ben James from the ABS.

As of Wednesday 29th September, Sydney is in it’s 14th week of lockdown and Melbourne is also under protracted restrictions, with the fallout set to see the economy contract in the current quarter.

Both Victoria and New South Wales are working hard to reach their vaccination targets as they plan to open up and try to live with the virus, abandoning previous suppression policies.

Victoria’s spending dropped 3 percent since it went back into lockdown during the first week of August. Sales in the Australian Capital Territory has dropped by 19.9 percent since the introduction of the region’s snap lockdown on Thursday 12th August.

In comparison, the figures are the complete opposite for states across Australia which have no lockdowns. Retail turnover in South Australia increased 6.6 percent and in Western Australia retail sales rose by 2.8 percent.

Across Australia for the month of August sales in the industries of clothing, footwear and personal accessories dropped by 15.7 percent.

During the same period of time sales in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food decreased by 7 percent.

Department store sales dropped by 10.2 percent. Food rose by 2.1 percent, the largest increase, as restrictions continued to limit mobility and keep households at home.

Payroll Jobs Drop During The Month of August

As a result of covid-19 enforced lockdowns, payroll jobs across Australia dropped during the early weeks of August.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced that payroll jobs fell by a further 0.7 percent in the fortnight to Saturday 14th August when compared to a fall of 1.8 percent in the previous two weeks.

The biggest falls were recorded in NSW, down 1.2 percent, followed by Queensland off one percent, the ACT 0.7 percent lower and Victoria dropping 0.6 percent.

“These four states and territories had lockdowns for either all or part of the first half of August, in addition to existing restrictions and border closures across the country,” said ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has issued a warning that the unemployment rate will increase in coming months as the economy takes a dive as a result of covid-19 lockdowns.

Commonwealth Bank group economists expect that the official August labour force data which is set to be released in the final week of September will indicate that there have been around 300,000 job losses with the unemployment rate lifting from 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent.

There were also further indications that the demand for workers is rapidly easing.

Figures released on Thursday 16th September illustrated that job advertisements posted through the SEEK network dropped 5.3 percent in August 2021.

Job advertisements in NSW dropped by 10.7 percent in August, while they declined by 6.3 percent in Victoria.