Tasmania's nosediving jobs figures will get worse before they get better, economist Saul Eslake believes.
The state shed 8700 jobs in April and 2700 in March as the coronavirus economic crash took hold, according to seasonally adjusted Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Thursday.
Separate ABS figures based on payrolls suggested the state lost 20,800 jobs between the week ending on March 14 and April 18, while the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry fears job losses could go as high as 35,000.
"The survey (for Thursday's figures) was taken in the first half of April, so based on what we know from the most recent weekly payrolls data published last week by the ABS, the May data due out in a month's time will probably show further declines in employment and increases in unemployment, though probably not as bad as in April," Mr Eslake said.
" ... with economies starting to open up again, hopefully June and beyond will see some improvement."
He said Thursday's figures showed Tasmanian employment fell by 3.4 per cent in April, which was less than in every other jurisdiction except the Northern Territory.
"We did, however, have the largest drop in hours worked (10.6 per cent) ...," he said.
"Presumably this means that relatively more Tasmanians who kept their jobs were put onto shorter hours than in other states."
Mr Eslake said underemployment - people in jobs who wanted to work more hours and were available to do so - increased by 5.2 percentage points in April, to a nation's highest proportion of 17.9 per cent of employed people.
Tasmania's under-utilisation rate - the number of unemployed and underemployed as a percentage of the workforce - increased by 6 percentage points to a nation's worst 23 per cent.