MORE than 1,100 jobs were lost in Geelong between July and September but the impact could have been nearly seven times worse, according to new data.
The City of Greater Geelong is one of several councils using data supplied by demographic specialists .id, which estimated job losses of 1.0 per cent (or 1,158 jobs) between the respective quarters of September 2019 and September 2020.
However, job losses across Australia have been cushioned by the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy, and .id estimated as many as 7,079 jobs could have been lost in Geelong over the quarter without JobKeeper.
The data shows accommodation and food services took the biggest hit, losing 4,249 jobs, but this would have been even worse without JobKeeper, rising to 5,271 jobs.
Retail trade was also heavily affected, with the 112 jobs lost between July and September rising to 950 if JobKeeper were not in place.
City of Greater Geelong acting director of economy, investment and attraction Tim Ellis said the whole community had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but small businesses were among some of the hardest hit in the community.
“We will continue to monitor data on the pandemic’s impact to the local economy as it becomes available and work with local businesses and government to determine how we can best support businesses in the region.”
He said the city had so far allocated an estimated $16.9 million to help alleviate the immediate and short-term impacts of COVID-19 for businesses, community groups and residents as part of the city’s COVID-19 economic and community support measures.
“Free professional business support is available, with 571 sessions supporting more than 430 business through the program so far,” Mr Ellis said.
“This support, via Geelong Business Support, includes professional advice across marketing, finance, legal, occupational health and safety, health and wellbeing, human resources and grant writing.”
The city has recently completed round one of the COVID-19 Business Recovery Grants, which has awarded $411,463 to 85 local small businesses to help them recover and implement projects that will help their businesses adapt and bounce back (with a second grant round will open on January 18).
It has also granted more than 50 temporary outdoor dining permits to hospitality venues to increase their ability to trade safely in line with the latest COVID-19 restrictions.