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(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Yesterday the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its quarterly detailed look at employment, and the results are illuminating in terms of which industries were bouncing back into the second half of the year and which weren't.

In February, before the pandemic hit, the workforce had just topped 13 million people. In the three months to May, it then lost the best part of a million jobs, with the workforce falling to 12.16 million on a seasonally adjusted basis.

By August, the workforce had put on around half the lost jobs in net terms, rising to 12.58 million. But some industries performed better than others. Retail recovered nearly all of its lost jobs to return to February levels. Accommodation and food services, understandably, lost around a third of its workforce by May, but had only restored 130,000 jobs, or just under half.