64% of businesses negatively affected by COVID restrictions, says ABS

Nearly two thirds of Australian businesses are negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions, with 30% still having supply chain disruptions.

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Nearly two-thirds of Australian businesses are being negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions, while 30% are experiencing supply chain disruptions.

These findings are a part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) monthly Business Conditions and Sentiments report, released today.

Of the businesses surveyed by the ABS, more than half have reacted to supply chain disruptions in April. Of those, 15% chose to switch from Australian suppliers, sourcing goods from overseas instead.

CreditorWatch’s chief economist Harley Dale has commented on the findings, saying Australian businesses still have a long way to go to recover from the global pandemic.

COVID-19 challenges for Australian businesses

The latest ABS report has found 64% of Australian businesses are being impacted by COVID-19 induced restrictions.

It found the worst affected are those providing accommodation and food services, which are likely to struggle with venue capacities, cleaning and disinfection requirements, and providing staff with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Education and training services are also struggling, juggling all of the above requirements while physically distancing from students and customers.

“[These findings] should be seen as a prescient warning that we are not out of the woods,” warned Dale.

Also worrying are supply chain disruptions that continue to wreak havoc on small businesses — 37% of Australian small businesses reported experiencing COVID-19 induced supply chain disruptions. Only 30% of medium sized businesses and 25% of large businesses reported supply chain disruptions. 

Manufacturing was the industry hardest hit by the disruptions, while 60% of wholesale businesses reported being severely affected.

“Supply disruptions highlight the risk of recoveries in these sectors progressing to a slower extent than we would like to see,” said Dale.

Good news

On a more positive note, April’s report found businesses revenues were at their best since the ABS began compiling the monthly report in July last year.

Only 18% of businesses reported a decline in revenue in April. That’s a large improvement from the 47% of Australian businesses that experienced decreased revenue in July 2020, the height of COVID-19.

Not to mention, it’s only the third time the report has found businesses experiencing revenue increases outnumber those with revenue decreases.

In further good news, working from home looks be to going well for Australian businesses and workers.

The report found 30% of businesses still have staff working from home. Of those businesses, 60% don’t expect to be welcoming employees back to the office.

One in four businesses with employees working from home said their productivity has increased, while 45% said their employees’ wellbeing has benefitted.

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