Business Conditions analysis

Targeted support needed for most affected 

Mark Frost - Chief Economist, Business NSW 

8 April, 2020

Covid-19 Economic Impacts

According to a special edition of Business NSW’s Business Conditions Survey, the impacts of COVID-19 are as broad and diverse as the State itself. With some businesses hurting more than others, the report illustrates the need for agility in the type of support available to NSW businesses.

Full report: COVID-19 Special Edition Report: Business Conditions Survey March, 2020
COVID-19 Visualization/Graphs below

Few businesses will walk away from COVID-19 unscathed. This has been made clear by the close to 2,000 businesses that completed Business NSW’s Quarterly Business Conditions Survey. Businesses are apprehensive about what’s around the corner and are making decisions today to steel themselves against what they anticipate will be a very tough quarter.

Industrial business impacts

We asked businesses to share to what extent they have been affected by COVID-19, as well as other factors such as the recent bushfires. What is crystal clear is that some parts of the economy have been harder hit than others.

For example, industries related to tourism and food services have seen average revenue fall by more than 50 per cent, while other industries have experienced only a 5 per cent fall. Even within industries there is likely to be significant differences depending on factors such as their business model and location.

Regional business impacts

We also see significant differences in the way crises such as COVID-19, the bushfires and drought have affected businesses located in different parts of NSW. While metro areas have generally been more affected by COVID-19, regions which were also affected by bushfires and drought have been hit twice or even three times.

Response: Speed v. precision

Most economic policies to date have rightly focussed on getting support out the door as quickly as possible to protect jobs and contain the economic impact. The March Business Condition Survey results imply that, moving forward, governments need to be agile in meeting the specific needs of the State’s various industries and communities.

"There are always trade-offs between speed and precision. As we move into the next phase of recovery it will become increasingly important to ensure additional support measures are targeted to those who need it the most."

The Commonwealth has allocated $1 billion in economic support for the recovery of regions and communities most affected by COVID-19. More targeted measures could include industry plans to provide guidance and support for businesses re‑emerging after the coronoavirus lockdown. Once the full impacts are better understood, funds should also be made available to address individual communities’ needs.

More programs such as these will be needed as speed becomes less of an imperative in government policy making and hard data on the impacts on our regional areas and industrial sectors becomes more readily available. 

Full report: COVID-19 Special Edition Report: Business Conditions Survey March, 2020


Regional data from Business Conditions Survey
Industrial data from Business Conditions Survey
Business NSW Economic Updates 

For any questions about the Business Conditions Survey, please contact Mark Frost via email   


Economic pefromance by industry: COVID-19 visualization / Coronavirus graph
Economic pefromance by NSW region: COVID-19 visualization / Coronavirus graph