Real time data from accounting software company Xero, charting more than 100,000 businesses with fewer than 20 employees, as well as new Australian Bureau of Statistics data show revenues were higher.
Xero reported small business revenues were up 1.7 per cent in November while the ABS reported that 25 per cent of businesses posted rising revenues. About two-thirds of medium and large businesses also planned to employ more staff over the next three months.
Xero Australia and Asia managing director Trent Innes said the data was a relief because it showed that small business fortunes were picking up just as JobKeeper wage subsidies come to an end.
“I was waiting with bated breath on this data because we wanted to know what the impact of JobKeeper would have on jobs,” Mr Innes said.
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“Jobs being reported by small business was trailing revenue growth, but now it is ahead, and I think that is all about confidence. If they get the revenue they hire another person.”
Treasury has forecast that there will be 1.7 million employees receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy by the end of the December quarter, which is about 540,000 fewer than the 2.24 million forecast in the October 6 budget.
Small business jobs rose 1.5 per cent in November according to Xero’s data and have returned to levels last seen at the beginning of March.
This contrasts with payroll data from the ABS that shows small business jobs have not yet rebounded, although there are definition differences such as how sole traders pay themselves.
SEEK job ads to be released on Thursday ahead of official unemployment figures have also shown further improvement, up by 8.6 per cent month-on-month despite the Jobkeeper tapering.
SEEK job ads are up 1 per cent year-on-year, which is the first increase in new job ads since before the pandemic.
For a third month running, Victoria, NSW and Queensland were the three states contributing the most to month-on-month growth in job ads.
Xero reported that small business jobs in Victoria had risen 9.6 per cent since the second lockdown trough in August.
“I think the trend is heading in the right direction,” Mr Innes said, “As restrictions open up that creates a competing force for the tapering of JobKeeper.”
Jobs in South Australia fell 5.9 per cent and revenue was down 3.1 per cent in late November after a three-day lockdown was imposed, while Victoria experienced 1.3 per cent revenue growth year-on-year.