At this stage in the electoral cycle, it would usually be helpful to look at the labour market data to get a feel for how people are faring on that front.
But in these days of peril and pestilence, the normal statistics — based on quarterly surveys of households and businesses — belong in the "that was then, this is now" bin.
The June quarter household labour force survey (HLFS), for example, recorded an unemployment rate of just 4 per cent, down from 4.2 per cent in the March quarter, but that was driven by declining labour force participation. Broader measures of labour market slack worsened markedly.
However Statistics NZ does provide us with more timely employment numbers, updated weekly, based on the payday data employers are required to file to Inland Revenue.
Those numbers have their limitations. They are not seasonally adjusted, for one thing, they do not distinguish between full-time and part-time employees and they only include those self-employed people who pay themselves a wage or salary.
But with those caveats in mind, the picture which emerges from the weekly tally of filled jobs over the past six months is not too bad.
In the weeks just before the country went into lockdown in March, the number of filled jobs based on payday data was running around 2.2 million.
It dropped with a thud in April, the period of the most stringent lockdown, by about 100,000.
But as we emerged from lockdown in May, the tally of filled jobs quickly recovered.
Through June and July it was back within cooee of pre-Covid levels. In this case a cooee is around 10,000 people.
Importantly, the recovery in employment held up even as the number of people supported by the wage subsidy has tapered off.
At the end of May, just under 1.7 million people were covered by the wage subsidy. By the end of June that had more than halved, and by the end of July it had fallen to just over 500,000.
By August 14, two days after Auckland's return to level 3 lockdown, the wage subsidy was supporting 286,000 jobs.
By the end of August that had increased to 350,000, boosted by the temporary "resurgence subsidy".
But the Ministry of Social Development expects the wage subsidy to have run its course by the middle of next month.
The prima facie conclusion would have to be that the subsidy has met its policy objective of keeping people, as far as possible, connected to their jobs and that those jobs have not evaporated as soon as the support rolled off.
Given the fiscal cost, $13.7 billion and counting, one would hope so.
Other labour market indicators tell a less cheerful story, however.
The number of people out of work and receiving income support in the form of the Jobseeker benefit or the more generous but time- limited Covid income relief payment has increased by more than 70,000 or 50 per cent from pre-Covid levels.
Their prospects of finding another job have darkened.
Statistics NZ's index which tracks online job advertisements understandably fell off a cliff in April and by July had only recovered to about three-quarters of its pre-Covid trend levels.
The surveys of business sentiment have also recorded historically weak hiring intentions.
And the June quarter HLFS conducted over April, May and June asked respondents if they expected to lose their jobs, or in the case of the self-employed their businesses, by the middle of next year.
While 71 per cent saw little or no chance of that, 18 per cent rated the prospect "medium" and 7 per cent rated it high or almost certain.
"Self-employed people who did not have staff or employees of their own felt more insecure about losing their business than employees felt about losing their job," said Statistics NZ's labour market statistics manager Andrew Neal. "Ten per cent of self-employed people without employees reported low job security, compared with 6 per cent of employees." Low job security was most acute in the transport, postal and warehousing industry, followed by retail and accommodation.
Looking forward, the absence of international visitors and students will continue to depress demand for some time yet.
And the resurgence of community transmission of the virus, even if contained, reminds the rest of us that complacency about the pandemic is misplaced.
That makes for a cautious consumer.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey in August, while off its April lows, remains well below its historical average and is back at 2009 levels.
The Treasury, citing data from Paymark and Verifone, reckons consumer spending, having fallen off a cliff during the national lockdown, recovered to around a sixth below pre-Covid levels only to dip again, though less severely, during Auckland's return to alert level 3.
On top of those cyclical fluctuations, there are the long-term after-effects of the pandemic on people's behaviour to consider.
It will have reinforced the trend to shopping online, with obvious consequences for bricks-and-mortar retailers.
How much working from home will persist, if not all of the time then part of the time? What will that mean for consumer-facing businesses in central business districts?
The June HLFS found that when the country was at alert level 4, 42 per cent of employed people worked from home.
"As the country moved down through the alert levels and the lockdown eased, more people returned to their workplaces, but many continued to do at least some work from home," Andrew Neal said. Even at alert level 1, 29 per cent were still working from home to some extent, the median being 10 hours a week.
The industries in which people were least likely to work from home were also those recording the highest levels of job insecurity: retail, accommodation and food services; and transport, postal and warehousing.