Pandemic 'far from over': Treasury boss

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Pandemic 'far from over': Treasury boss

Treasury boss Steven Kennedy has warned the coronavirus pandemic is “far from over” and his department will continue to advise the federal government in implementing policies to support the economic recovery.

In Treasury's annual report for 2020/21, Dr Kennedy says the continued roll out of vaccination programs in Australia and overseas are expected to reduce both the risk of death and the speed of transmission of the virus.

“But uncertainties remain, including about how the nature of the virus could change over time, and so the risks to Australia and the global economy remain heightened,” Dr Kennedy says.

“The pandemic is far from over. We will continue advising the government and implementing policies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and support the economic recovery.”

The Treasury secretary will get the opportunity to expand on his department's thinking on the outlook when he faces Senate estimates hearings next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, new figures will give a clue as to the state of the labour market in the final weeks of September, prior to NSW and the ACT reopening from lengthy coronavirus lockdowns earlier this month.

Victoria is also due to ease restrictions from Friday.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release payroll jobs data for the fortnight to September 25 on Thursday, a period not covered by the full labour force report released last week.

That report showed a further 138,000 jobs were lost, alongside another tumble in the participation rate as people gave up looking for work during lockdown.

However, there are positive signs for NSW at least.

The National Skills Commission's final report for September showed job advertisements posted on the internet for positions in NSW soared 16.7 per cent in September in a sign employers see better days ahead.

“Savvy NSW employers had already begun planning their hiring needs ahead of 'Freedom Day' on October 11,” Commonwealth Securities senior economist Ryan Felsman said.

Overall jobs ads rose 4.9 per cent in September, ending three months of declines, but small falls were again recorded for both Victoria and the ACT.

Of the eight occupational groups monitored by the commission, demand was the strongest for sales workers, up 17.8 per cent, just ahead of community and personal service workers, rising 17.2 per cent.

The National Bank of Australia will also release its business survey for the September quarter.

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