Impact of COVID-19 on Australian businesses – part three

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This story was first published on Wednesday 17 June 2020. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is continuing its release of data reports on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian businesses and their staffing levels.

The latest release of the Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses report shows the proportion of businesses expecting to increase staff numbers in the coming months continues to increase. It is now the highest it has been since the week ending 13 March 2020.

The number of businesses expecting to increase staff in the coming months currently stands at 17 per cent for the week ending 15 May. This is considerably higher than for the weeks ending 10 and 17 April, when only 2 per cent of employers were expecting to increase staff numbers.

The proportion of businesses expecting to decrease staff numbers in the coming months remains low at 5 per cent in the week ending 15 May. This has declined from a peak of 28 per cent in the week ending 3 April. This may reflect the large proportion of businesses that had already reduced staff since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Industry Outlook report using data collected up to 8 May 2020 has also recently been released. This report focuses on the expectations of changing staffing levels and how these differ by industry.

The report shows that Accommodation and Food Services industry are the most expectant to increase staff in the coming months (21 per cent). This likely reflects the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions. There were significant decreases in staff across the industry as a result of the initial restrictions. This industry also had the most ‘unsure’ about future staffing changes (26 per cent).

Construction and Manufacturing businesses were most commonly expecting to decrease staff in the coming months (13 per cent and 9 per cent respectively). Only 1 per cent of business in Retail Trade expected to increase staff numbers.

Previous reports showed that the COVID-19 crisis was affecting the majority of businesses, with the demand for goods and services and cash flow considerably reduced. As a result, many employers reported that they had been forced to reduce the hours of their staff or let them go.

Take a look on the Labour Market Information Portal to view the latest published Impacts of COVID-19 on Businesses reports. Subscribe to receive future updates on these topics and more.

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Correct at time of publication.