This Productivity Insights research was released on 17 June 2021. The 2021 Productivity Insights unpacks and analyses the latest ABS productivity statistics, and details and comments on trends and new developments underlying Australia's recent productivity performance.

Key points:

  • The COVID-19 recession precipitated a sudden rise in unemployment and falls in investment and hours worked during the first half of 2020, especially in the face-to-face service industries such as accommodation and food services and retail trade. Participation rates also fell.
  • The second half of 2020 saw investment, hours worked per worker and participation rapidly recover to pre-COVID levels. As at May 2021, unemployment remains slightly elevated.
  • The speed of recovery largely reflects the nature of the shock, large (temporary) subsidies and concessions from all levels of government (particularly the JobKeeper and Cashflow Booster programs) as well as containment of the pandemic.
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PC Productivity Insights June 2021