5676.0.55.003 - Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19, July 2020  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/07/2020   
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This document was added or updated on 04/08/2020.

Business revenue, operating expenses and employment, last month and next month

Businesses reported on changes in business revenue, operating expenses and number of employees over the last month and sentiments around expected changes over the next month. Businesses were asked to provide a best estimate only, without accessing business records or reports.

Business revenue, operating expenses and employment, last month and next month, July 2020(a)

Stacked bar graphs of changes in revenue, operating expenses and employment, for last month and expected for next month

Almost half of all businesses (47%) reported that revenue had decreased in the previous month. For the next month, 27% expected revenue to decrease and 49% expected revenue to stay the same.

Four in five businesses (80%) reported no change in the number of employees over the previous month and five in six (85%) expected no change next month. Fewer businesses expected a decrease in the number of employees next month (3%), compared to those that reported a decrease over the previous month (13%).

Expected change in business revenue next month, by operating status, July 2020(a)



Businesses operating under modified conditions were almost three times as likely to expect a decrease in revenue next month compared to businesses operating as normal (32% compared to 11%).

Number of employees, last month and next month, by employment size, July 2020(a)



Large businesses (i.e. 200 or more persons employed) were twice as likely to report a decrease in the number of employees over the last month compared to small businesses (i.e. 0-19 persons employed) (26% compared to 13%). Large and medium (i.e. 20-199 persons employed) businesses were more likely to report an expected decrease in the number of employees next month compared to small businesses (10% and 13% compared to 2%).

Comments provided by businesses

Data was collected via a telephone interview. Additional insights into drivers for changes within businesses were provided as comments by respondents.

A number of businesses reporting a change in revenue commented that there were minor differences between the reporting period and the previous month, but significant differences compared to the same time last year. Some businesses noted that the seasonal nature of their business impacted on monthly variations in revenue.

Multiple businesses commented that their operating expenses had increased due to requirements around cleaning and hygiene, namely obtaining cleaning products and personal protective equipment (PPE). In contrast, some businesses indicated that increased working from home arrangements had decreased their operating costs.

Many businesses commented that their expected revenue and operating expenses were heavily dependent on whether government regulations would be changing again or staying the same, specifically those regarding social distancing and travel.