Analysing the distribution of JobKeeper recipients across industries, we again see that the program appears to have been well targeted towards those sectors most severely impacted by the COVID-19 fallout. In our sample, a remarkable 69% of businesses in the Fitness and Recreation Services industry have received JobKeeper payments, compared to just one in three businesses from the Transport, Postal and Warehousing sector, which was classified as an essential service and remained relatively active during the lockdown.
Percentage of businesses receiving JobKeeper by industry, location and business type
Interestingly, around 40% of Construction businesses have also made successful JobKeeper claims, with cautious clients putting projects on hold, despite the sector’s status as an essential service. That’s around the same proportion as Retail Trade – further confirmation that retailers have weathered the crisis better than expected.
Comparing businesses in the regions to those in metropolitan centres, we find that metro businesses were around seven percentage points more likely to claim JobKeeper than their regional peers. As well as providing welcome evidence that the impact in the regions was less severe than originally feared, this reflects the higher concentration of Accommodation and Food Services businesses in metropolitan areas, and of Transport businesses in the regions.
Less easily explained is the 11 percentage point gap between incorporated businesses, 45% of which have claimed JobKeeper, and partnerships and sole traders, only 34% of which have done so. While some smaller businesses run by sole traders may have proven unexpectedly resilient during the crisis, this finding does raise the possibility that some sole traders may have been unsuccessful in accessing JobKeeper payments or unaware that they could do so – suggesting there may be one aspect of the program that could potentially be improved.