There’s less than 12 weeks till Christmas – our busiest time of year – and not surprisingly, staff shortages are the most pressing concern as businesses ramp up recruitment to meet demand. The latest figures from the ABS show there were 46,100 job vacancies in retail trade in August – an increase of 14% on last quarter. While job vacancies overall across the economy declined 2%, retail was one of the few industries to record an increase. The Government has announced measures including an increase to Australia’s migration cap and the ability for pensioners to work more shifts without their entitlements being affected, but it will take a few months for the benefits of these initiatives to land.
National Cabinet will remove the five-day Covid isolation period from Friday, October 14 – a measure ARA has advocated for. Given our high vaccination rates, high levels of immunity and the availability of Covid treatments, we’re pleased our political leaders have made this welcome shift towards living with Covid.
It also means the pandemic leave disaster payments will come to an end for most workers, and while it’s been an important safety net for workers with no access to sick leave, it’s appropriate to wind-up this scheme in line with the removal of mandatory isolations.
The RBA has increased interest rates for the sixth straight month, but retail sales continuing to run at record levels. You can read my opinion piece on the current state of the industry and the lag we’re experiencing in terms of the impacts to household spending.