Almost 90% of businesses to be impacted by COVID-19, says ABS

A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that almost half of Australian businesses have already experienced an adverse impact as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, the ABS expects almost 90% of businesses across the country to impacted in future months. The data was collected in mid-March just before the Federal Government introduced social distancing rules to contain the pandemic.

Adverse impacts were most prevalent in accommodation and food services, with 78% of businesses already reporting impacts and 98% reporting expected impacts in the coming months.

Industries least affected by COVID-19 in the collection period were professional, scientific and technical services at 21%, electricity, gas and water supply at 34% and mining, where 37% of companies reported negative impacts.

From the total impacted businesses, over a third had experienced staff shortages and 59% expected to suffer staff shortages in the coming months.

There are expectations that more than one million Australians could lose their jobs if the unemployment rate hits more than 10%, as some economists are predicting.

A sample of 3,000 businesses was selected for the latest survey, with a 41% response rate.