Casuals hardest hit by job losses in 2020: Australia

Casual workers accounted for around two-thirds of people who lost a job early in the COVID-19 period, according to new annual data and analysis of quarterly Labour Force data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Working Arrangements

Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said: “Total employment fell from around 13 million to 12.2 million between February and May 2020, with two thirds of the fall occurring in casual employment.”

Employment in casual jobs fell from 2.6 million to 2.1 million between February and May 2020.

“Prior to the COVID period, casuals accounted for around 25 per cent of all employees. This fell to around 20 per cent in May,” Mr Jarvis said.

Between May and August, casual employment rose to 2.3 million, a recovery of around 37.2 per cent of the earlier fall. Estimates for November 2020 will be published in detailed Labour Force statistics on 23 December.

Employees with leave entitlementsCasualsOwner managersTOTAL
MillionMillionMillionMillion
Aug-198.12.62.212.9
Nov-198.22.62.213.0
Feb-208.32.62.113.0
May-208.02.12.012.2
Aug-208.12.32.112.5
Feb-20 to May-20-210,000-540,000-100,000-860,000
May-20 to Aug-2090,000200,00050,000340,000

More detailed annual data, released today, showed further impacts on different forms of employment.

Between August 2019 and August 2020, the number of people working as full-time independent contractors fell 9.4 per cent, from 670,000 to 610,000. In contrast, employees working on a fixed-term contract increased 6.1 per cent, from 390,000 to 410,000.

/ABS Public Release. View in full here.