The September labour force data show the impact of the recession on jobs, hours worked and unemployment. It is bad news. Depressing in many ways to realise that there are 937,400 Australians unemployed, a further 1,538,800 underemployed and that since the onset of Covid-19, the workforce participation rate has dropped by 1.3 percentage points as people have given up looking for work.
It's not new news that the finance and banking Industries are under some pressure during these times. Assisting our community and our families is a big job that puts pressure on our system and our people. We all understand this, but one thing I've learned in these recent times is that crisis does not change people, crisis reveals them. How we deal with a crisis is a reflection on how we deal with life.
On the back of the pandemic, we have seen the financial services sector fare better than most others however it has also gone through a significant disruption to its workforce. Most financial services companies sent their employees home to work. They then faced challenges with employees not being able to access information and files on-premises as well as employees being unable to collaborate effectively, not being face to face.
The Banking and Finance sector has been extremely innovative over the last decade - the shift to digital and online, the growth of Fintech and an increased focus on the customer - but never has it moved so fast as it did in the last two weeks of March 2020.
When Covid came, we all had to very quickly change the way we worked, the way we communicated, how we socialised, even what we did for leisure.
COVID-19 has sparked massive changes in banking and finance, not least because of the deep recession impacting the economy.
Among the changes that have been witnessed in finance, the so-called responsible lending laws have been relaxed to make it easier for a borrower to get a loan. In addition, around $35 billion has been withdrawn from superannuation accounts as the government has encouraged people to pull out cash from their superannuation savings to cover the costs of being unemployed or working fewer hours during the COVID-19 recession.
Economist Stephen Koukoulas says “there is no confidence at all” in any projections about the unemployment rate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Australian economist Stephen Koukoulas says the Reserve Bank of Australia’s emergency cash rate cut would help businesses and homeowners already “well off economically in this crisis”.
Central banks and governments around the world are scrambling to keep economies afloat as the coronavirus contagion sweeps across the globe. In Australia the RBA is poised to announce its next move on Thursday. Economist Stephen Koukoulas speaks to ABC News.
Anyone can have a ‘good time’ if they borrow and spend like the proverbial drunken sailor, but as we all know, such action is not sustainable. It cannot go on forever given that one day the money will run out and the debt will have to be repaid.
Our expert economist and social commentator Stephen Koukoulas explores the question of how sustainable is our super with an aging population.