Arts jobs show signs of return over the past two months

Jobs in the sector have still declined by 15 per cent since mid-March

Employment in the struggling arts sector has shown a steady increase in recent months, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The arts and recreation sector continued to experience a drop in employment through May, despite the Australian economy gradually starting to reopen, with one in four arts workers reported having lost their jobs.

Since then, the ABS has recorded eight consecutive weeks of growth in payroll jobs in the sector, minimising the drop from 26.3 per cent (measured between March 14 and May 30) to 15.1 per cent between March 14 and July 25.


Nevertheless, the arts and recreation sector continues to be the second-most affected group during the coronavirus pandemic behind accommodation and food services in terms of job decline.

The new data does not take into consideration the introduction of Stage Four restrictions for Melbourne, which came into effect August 2. However, it does include the return to Stage Three from July 8, when entertainment venues were once again forced to close their doors.

In a statement, ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said Victorian payroll jobs fell by 1.5 per cent across the board in July.

“Around 40 per cent of jobs lost in Victoria by mid-April had been regained by June 25, but by the end of July this had reduced to 24 per cent,” he said.

The data arrives as the Federal Government today publishes the guidelines for its $75million RISE grant fund, a component of its $250million sector package announced in June.


“The RISE Fund will provide grants of between $75,000 and $2 million to help restart activities such as festivals, concerts, tours and events once it is safe to do so,” arts minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

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