Australian employment fell 1.1% between mid-June and mid-July, weekly data showed on Tuesday, with the biggest loss coming from the second most populous state of Victoria which is grappling with a fresh wave of coronavirus infections.
Aussies who work in the healthcare, manufacturing, and construction sectors are feeling the most optimistic about their jobs for the second half of the year, a new survey has revealed.
According to a new report commissioned by Xero and conducted by social demographer Bernard Salt, workers in these sectors reported the most confidence in their industry over the next six months.
Meanwhile, Australia’s least hopeful workers are those in the professional services, accommodation, and food and education and training sectors.
Fewer than one-in-four businesses (23 per cent) anticipate revenue will rise beyond 10 per cent by December.
But nearly half of all businesses (49 per cent) surveyed said they were confident about the rest of the year.
“Here we are in the middle of both a pandemic and the worst recession in three generations. The fact that half of all small businesses remain optimistic about their prospects in the second half of the year says something about the sheer determination and inherent optimism of the small business community in Australia,” said Salt.
Businesses that thrived during the pandemic adapted their operations, found new customer markets, and made work arrangements more flexible.
Well-performing businesses also invested in technology, and are looking to increase their investment even further in the next three months.

Jobs that grew during the pandemic

In the peak of the pandemic between 20 February and 20 May, some jobs more than tripled in demand.
Multimedia specialists and web developers saw 217 per cent increase in job numbers, while the number of legislator jobs grew by 195 per cent.
Survey interviewer jobs more than doubled at 119 per cent, as did agricultural, forestry, and horticultural plant operator jobs which grew by 111 per cent.
Actuaries, mathematicians, and statistician jobs also grew by 73 per cent during the pandemic, and speech pathologists and therapist roles rose by 68 per cent.
Psychiatrists were also highly sought-after, with these jobs rising by 65 per cent.

FILE PHOTO: People are seen on the ground floor of an office building amidst the easing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the Central Business District of Sydney, Australia, June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said total payroll jobs decreased 2.2% in Victoria alone as additional COVID-19 restrictions were re-introduced following an “alarming” rise in cases recently.
The state reported 384 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, on top of a record 532 the previous day.
Australia has seen a surge in job growth in the past couple of months as authorities largely managed to control the spread of the virulent disease and began re-opening the economy. That helped recoup around 35% of payroll jobs lost due to the coronavirus, Tuesday’s figures showed.
All the same, it will be some time before the damage wreaked by the pandemic is fully restored.
The release, an experimental series, differs from official employment data and is based on figures from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on wage payment by businesses.
There had been around 12.3 million people counted as employed in June, according to official employment statistics, down sharply from just over 13 million in early March before the lockdowns kicked in.
The jobless rate, which had then been steady at 5.2%, has since jumped to 7.4% in June.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has responded by slashing its cash rate to a record low 0.25% in an emergency meeting in March and launching an “unlimited” bond-buying program.
It has pledged to keep interest rates at these levels till progress is made in achieving its employment and inflation goals.
Data on Wednesday is likely to show the largest decline ever in Australian consumer prices in the second quarter. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast the consumer price index (CPI) dived 2% in the June quarter, from the first, causing annual prices to drop 0.4% in the first negative reading since 1998.
Young Australians have been struggling to find employment in their desired occupation since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and any improvement is unlikely for some time yet given the economic impact of the coronavirus.
This could have a long-term effect on their career, the Productivity Commission warns in a new report.
Commissioner Catherine de Fontenay says there has been a substantial increase in university graduates in Australia over the last ten years or so.
"Unfortunately, for many graduates that have just meant more competition to enter their chosen profession," she said releasing the report on Monday.
Since 2008, the report found young people's job prospects and the growth in their salaries were worse than those of workers aged 35 and over, and compared to young people prior to the GFC.
While Australia avoided the worst of the GFC and was one a few countries to avoid a recession, it's after-effects combined with a post-mining boom slowdown led to a decade of relatively weak labor demand from 2008.
Although this did not show up in a higher unemployment rate that characterized the 1991 recession, there was increased part-time employment.
This resulted in lower starting wages for young people and a constrained choice in occupations despite increased education.
The report found since 2008 a larger share of graduates found jobs that are considered the lower end of the jobs ladder - such as store persons, shelf fillers, cafe workers, and other hospitality workers.
This in turn has affected their career progression.
"For graduates who found employment lower down the ladder, it was difficult to recover," the report says.

"While young people's career prospects might have recovered once the labor market improved, such improvement is now unlikely for some time, given the COVID-19 crisis."The partial shutdown of Melbourne and tough border restrictions between NSW and Victoria is now hitting the national jobs market.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics today showed a 0.6 per cent drop in the number of national payroll jobs, with the biggest fall in Victoria. In the week between July 4 and 11, payroll jobs fell by 1.4 per cent across Victoria. There were falls in every state and territory, bar South Australia, while they were flat in Western Australia.
Since mid-March, payroll jobs in Victoria are now down by 7.3 per cent, the worst of any state or territory. The second worst is Tasmania where they are down by 6.8 per cent.
Women are bearing the brunt of the drop-off, with their jobs down by 1.1 per cent in the week between July 4 and 11. Male jobs were down by 0.2 per cent. The bureau's head of labor statistics, Bjorn Jarvis, said payroll jobs had fallen by 2.2 per cent in Victoria between mid-June and mid-July.