Australian Economy

Side hustles reveal cost-of-living crunch

Australians are increasingly taking on second jobs as the cost-of-living crisis bites, but the extra work might not be as valuable as expected.

The latest national data revealed the number of Australians with multiple jobs reached a record 900,000 individuals in September, an increase of 4.3 per cent.

Lauren Ford from the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the increase coincided with underemployment at historical lows.

Workplace experts suggest Australians working more hours might signal a weakening economy.

Evgenia Dechter from the University of NSW said the rising number of second jobs showed the cost of living and economic insecurity were getting worse.

Prices for everyday items have skyrocketed this year due to global supply challenges, the war in Ukraine, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lettuce soared from $2.80 to $12 at its peak and petrol prices are sitting at roughly $1.83 per litre across the country, having risen by 10 cents last week.

The Reserve Bank has begun to scale back rate hikes after economists feared aggressive increases could send the economy into a spin.

The central bank lifted the cash rate by 0.25 per cent rather than the expected 0.50 per cent.

With the federal budget just weeks away, debate is heating up about scrapping or scaling back tax cuts.

Labor ministers have consistently backed the “stage three” tax cuts but the changes largely benefit high-income earners.

Dr Dechter said the tax changes could be good news for people with second jobs because it would allow them to earn more money before getting their earnings clipped.

Dale Boccabella from the UNSW business school urged people considering taking up a second job to weigh the time required against their existing work commitments.

“Consider the amount of money received from the second job and the value of time you spend away from family and friends,” he said.

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