5676.0.55.003 - Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19, Week Commencing 30 March 2020  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/04/2020   
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Trading Status of Australian Businesses

Government intervention to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has substantially changed the business operating environment in Australia.

Businesses reported whether they were actively trading; for those not trading they indicated whether this was due to COVID-19.

Overall, 90% of Australian businesses reported that they were operating in the week commencing 30 March. By employment size, the proportion of businesses trading were:

            • 90% of small businesses (i.e. 0-19 persons employed);
            • 93% of medium businesses (i.e. 20-199 persons employed);
            • 95% of large businesses (i.e. 200 or more persons employed).

Small businesses make up the vast majority of the total business population.

The area of each segment in the diagram below shows the share of each industry division in the Australian business population. The figures within the segments represent the proportion of businesses operating in each industry division in the week commencing 30 March.


Share of each Industry in the Australian Business Population(a) and the Proportion of businesses that are currently operating(b)

                (a) ABS cat no. 8165.0 Counts of Australian Businesses as at June 2019, including Entries and Exits, June 2015 to June 2019.
                (b) Proportion of businesses operating was collected via the COVID-19 Survey.

By industry, less than half of businesses in Arts & recreation services were operating. Businesses in this industry account for 1% of the total business population.

By contrast, 96% of businesses in Professional, scientific and technical services were operating; businesses in this industry accounting for 12% of the total business population.

Pause in Trading due to COVID-19

Of the 10% of businesses which reported that they were not trading, 70% reported that this was due to COVID-19.


Selected Reasons for having paused trading as a result of COVID-19(a)(b), by employment size

Selected Reasons for having paused trading as a result of COVID-19(a)(b), by employment size


Overall, of those businesses which paused trading due to COVID-19, 84% reported that the pause was due to the introduction of government measures. This was the most common reason reported for all business sizes.