Covid-19’s economic impact on the regions

AS THE coronavirus pandemic continues to cause uncertainty, a university professor has broken down what the virus means for regional economies.

Professor John Rolfe of CQUniversity and the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence recently analysed the various impacts the pandemic would have on each of the regions.

Prof Rolfe put in place the same variables across all the regions including an 80 per cent reduction in accommodation and food services and arts and recreational services.

He said some of the sectors most affected included the tourism, arts and hospitality areas where government regulation had an impact.

The report predicted the Wide Bay region to have a 12 per cent reduction in employment thanks to measures put in place to control Covid-19.

As a whole, he predicted a loss of 13 per cent of the total workforce from the Covid-19 controls. “The impacts are largest in the Gold/Sunshine Coast (16.3%) and Cairns (16.0%) regions, which are most highly exposed to the collapse in Tourism,” the report said. He also predicted households in the Wide Bay region would have a less than eight per cent reduction in income.

In his report, Prof Rolfe said the economic impacts were occurring through several forces including the direct effects of government controls which were limiting business operations, reductions in customer demand and the flow-on effects through the economy.

“My goal is to predict how those workforce and income numbers will be impacted by the controls for Covid-19, identifying the extent to which regional variations can be expected,” the report said.

“To do this I make some assumptions about the impacts of direct controls and lower demand on key economic sectors.”

He said the outlook moving forward was concerning for regional areas.

“Economic disruptions generate change, and the outcomes of this disruption has some concerning trends for regional economies,” the report said.

“As economies rebuild post Covid, the risks for regional areas is that local businesses cannot compete effectively and that the urban-regional divide increases further.”

To read the full report visit www.ruraleconomies.org.au.



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