Impacts of COVID-19 on Business’ operating capacity

This story was first published on Friday 14 August 2020. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

Recent survey data collected by the National Skills Commission show businesses in Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing industries were most likely to report that they were operating at full capacity during July.

The national survey considers the impacts COVID-19 has, or may have, on the way businesses operate, their staffing decisions and more. The latest report focuses on business’ operating capacity, with businesses indicating they were not operating at full capacity if they had reduced business hours; operated with reduced services (e.g. only offering takeaway for restaurants), or had reduced staffing levels since the pandemic hit.

This report highlights that around two thirds of businesses in Retail Trade reported that they were operating at full capacity in July compared with only 30% of businesses in Accommodation and Food Services.

The increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria and associated restrictions has led to a larger fall in the proportion of businesses operating at full capacity in that state than in other jurisdictions. In the fortnight ending 31 July, only 34% of Victorian businesses reported they were operating at full capacity, compared with 55% of businesses across the rest of Australia—a 4 percentage point decrease (from 56%) in the fortnight ending 17 July.

The NSC will continue to survey businesses across Australia to better understand the impacts of COVID-19. The data from these surveys provide valuable insights into emerging labour market trends to help Australia navigate economic recovery.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses: Business’ operating capacity report and previous reports are available on the Labour Market Information Portal.