The latest data from XSBI shows that small business jobs grew 1.9% year-on-year in December, supported by an uptick in casual employment. Casual jobs, which collapsed with the onset of the pandemic, have now risen 36.8% since April’s crisis-induced low to be 3.8% above pre-pandemic levels.

The strong job growth can be attributed to retail and hospitality sectors leaning on casuals to cope with increased consumer demand over the festive period. Hospitality recorded a 5.3% rise in small business jobs – now above pre-crisis levels for the first time – and retail jobs are now 7% above pre-pandemic levels. 

South Australia reversed the effect of its sharp November lockdown, while a resilient Victorian jobs market rose 13.9% from October’s lockdown trough.  

While employment rides a steady incline, small business revenue saw a pause in recovery after six months of consistent gains, down 2.7% since December 2019. The slight dip points towards conservative holiday spending as Australians continue to navigate the wake of the mid-year recession. If you’d like to see comparative insights across Australia, the UK and New Zealand, please see our XSBI website.