Tasmania's economy grew in the March quarter as coronavirus started to bite, but the nation took its first step into what now looks certain recession.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated Tasmanian state final demand - a key economic growth measure - increased by 0.6 per cent in the quarter in seasonally adjusted terms.
That was beaten only by Western Australia and the ACT.
Tasmania's growth would have been stronger but for the early stages of the coronavirus-driven downturn.
The ABS said household final consumption spending fell during the quarter by 0.9 per cent, driven by a 7.6 per cent fall in spending at hotels, cafes and restaurants.
The ABS said that was related to the coronavirus lockdown.
Strong increases in spending on dwelling investment and machinery and equipment - including buses and trucks - helped a 5.4 per cent increase in private gross fixed capital formation.
Government consumption spending edged up by 0.2 per cent and there was a strong increase in investment in utilities.
National gross domestic product decreased by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, leaving annual economic growth at a weak 1.4 per cent.
"This was the slowest through-the-year growth since September 2009 when Australia was in the midst of the Global Financial Crisis and captures just the beginning of the expected effects of COVID-19," ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said.
The technical definition of recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, and the economy is certain to contract in the current quarter.
Australia was last in recession in the early 1990s.
Tasmanian new vehicle sales had another shocker in May as coronavirus restrictions continued and in the wake of significant job losses.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' VFACTS report said 844 new vehicles were sold in Tasmania during the month.
That was an improvement from just 618 sales in April, but was 51.7 per cent weaker than the 1747 sales recorded in May 2019.
Every state and territory went backwards on sales comparing the two Mays, but Tasmania's drop was the biggest.
National sales fell by 35.3 per cent.
Year to date sales in Tasmania were 28.4 per cent weaker.
Housing approvals by Tasmanian councils are holding up well so far, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.
They increased for a fifth consecutive month to 299 in trend terms in April, and by 4.2 per cent in April alone.
They tallied 254 in November, before the rising trend started.