Many of those suburbs are linked to higher-than-average employment in the restaurant, legal, IT, engineering and public sector industries, despite also reporting higher-than-average incomes in white-collar industries.
The Taylor Fry index uses the latest employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics along with the most recent census of the Australian population, and breaking down the COVID-19 impact by postcode.
ABS data reported a 6.1 per cent decrease in jobs registered in Queensland in May 2020. The national decrease was 7.3 per cent. Total wages paid have also dropped by 4.6 per cent in Queensland, compared with 5.4 per cent nationally.
Taylor Fry principal Alan Greenfield said the data showed urban areas across Brisbane had been more affected by the pandemic, particularly those populated by younger workers.
“Jobs that involve gatherings of people are more common in urban environments and they are exactly the jobs that have been negatively impacted by government restrictions,” Mr Greenfield said.
“The suburbs most financially impacted by COVID-19 tend to have a higher proportion of middle-to-high-income earners and a lower share of retired or unemployed people relative to the state average.
“In other words, they are more likely to be impacted by a sudden increase in unemployment or underemployment.”
But within Brisbane there were some western suburbs that reported little effect financially from the pandemic. Sunnybank Hills and Salisbury reported little impact from the pandemic’s financial consequences, with their high unemployed or retired populations unaffected.
Rochedale and Burbank reported little effect and a higher employment in education, hospitals and lower incomes.
Inland, however, Redbank Plains and Springfield Lakes reported a high impact, with middling-to-low incomes and industries, including freight transport, meat manufacturing, childcare and warehousing, creating a tougher combination.
On the Gold Coast, where tourism is king, the Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Waters and Burleigh Heads postcodes all reported the highest financial stress where lower income brackets were more common.
“The Gold Coast region has a lot of younger people employed in hospitality, tourism, retail and real estate, which are all industries that have taken a big hit from the pandemic,” Mr Greenfield said.
“On top of that, the international students that normally frequent the region’s tertiary institutions are staying home.”
Further north, the Sunshine Coast was also feeling the impact but not as heavily as Brisbane and the Gold Coast, a fact Mr Greenfield attributed to the higher numbers of retirees and low-income earners, many of whom were able to access the JobKeeper scheme.
Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.