Arts jobs continued to decline through May, new data finds

Despite an overall increase in Australian jobs over the month

Australia’s arts scene continues to be one of the most affected sectors through the coronavirus pandemic, with new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing more job losses throughout May.

Data released today (June 16) found that over the twelve-week period between the week ending March 14 and the week ending May 30, 26.3 per cent of employees in the arts and recreation sector had lost their jobs.

Breaking it down by industry subdivision, just over 30 per cent of workers in the creative and performing arts lost their jobs over the recorded twelve-week period. Additionally, 27 per cent of motion picture and sound recording workers also lost their jobs.


The previous release by the ABS, which tracked payroll data between the week ending March 14 and the week ending May 2, recorded a 19 per cent loss in jobs across the arts and recreation sector.

The arts sector continues to be second only to the accommodation and food services sector in terms of overall job losses. However, unlike the accommodation and food services sector, which recorded a five per cent growth in jobs through May, the arts sector recorded a 2.8 per cent drop in jobs last month.

Across the board, payroll jobs in Australia increased by one per cent through May.

“Looking at the week-to-week changes, there was a 0.4 per cent increase in the number of payroll jobs in the week ending May 30, following no change recorded in the week ending May 23,” ABS statistician Bjorn Jarvis said in a statement.

The ABS has also noted that between May 2 and May 30, a significant portion of businesses would have started back paying JobKeeper supplements received from the Federal Government to their employees.


The new data comes as the Victorian and New South Wales governments signal a return for live music. From June 22, pubs, concert venues, galleries and theatres will be permitted to host up to 50 patrons in Victoria. In New South Wales, the current 50-person maximum for pubs and restaurants will be lifted on July 1, provided patrons adhere to the four-square metre rule.