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‘There’s nothing in western Sydney at the moment’: Lockdown crushes job creation

Ms Jubran has been working for the state government since 2018, but her contract ends later this year. She fears the scarcity of job openings means she will not be rehired.

“My husband and I have bought a house — we have plans — so the idea of losing my job and not having any income is really hard.”

Economist and Accenture managing director Andrew Charlton said the findings showed the strong recovery in employment across Sydney during the first half of this year had been snuffed out by the lockdowns.

“The numbers have plummeted so much it will be a long road back to confidence before we see a shift in employment again,” he said. “Even resilient sectors like professional services have seen big falls in hiring.”

Jane Hanna has been searching for a part-time job in Blacktown.

Jane Hanna has been searching for a part-time job in Blacktown. Credit:Photo: Kate Geraghty

Job seekers living in areas of concern in western Sydney say the strict lockdown rules have made searching for work more difficult.

“I’m really bored during this lockdown and I feel like a job will support my mental health,” says 19-year-old Jane Hanna, who has been searching for part-time work in Blacktown for months. “I’ve been applying, but none are accepting me.”

Henrietta Adomako’s employment has been repeatedly disrupted by western Sydney’s Delta outbreak.

Henrietta Adomako

Henrietta AdomakoCredit:Photo: Kate Geraghty

A positive COVID-19 case at a workplace in the Blacktown area forced her into self-isolation in July and her casual shifts there became less frequent. Ms Adomako, 19, is looking for other jobs but says openings are scarce and employers cautious.

“It seems employers are not recruiting because people are scared of the COVID situation,” she said. “I’m also more hesitant, especially about taking public transport, because you are at more risk.”

The analysis showed the downturn in new job advertising in NSW had been most severe in the accommodation and food services sector during that period with a fall of 70 per cent, followed by arts and recreation services (down 56 per cent). There were also big declines in the information, media and telecommunications sector (down 51 per cent), transport, postal and warehousing (down 50 per cent) and retail trade (down 46 per cent).

The least affected sectors have been professional services with a 22 per cent fall in job ads and administrative services (down 26 per cent).

Callam Pickering, an economist with job site Indeed, said the contrast in job advertising across industry sectors highlighted how uneven the economic impact of these lockdowns were. He anticipated further weakness in NSW employment advertising due to the ongoing restrictions.

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