The hardest part of Tasmania's economic recovery is yet to come, a prominent forecaster says.
"Looking ahead, many of Tasmania's growth industries are susceptible to the COVID fallout," Deloitte Access Economics said in its latest quarterly Business Outlook report.
"Demand for exports such as international education and tourism (is) still low and expected to stay that way for some time.
"The economy is also lacking people power, admittedly an ongoing sore spot for the state that is only further pressured by border closures and a halt on migration."
The report was written before last Thursday's release of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing Tasmania's promising employment recovery had ended, for now at least.
The ABS estimated the number of employed Tasmanians decreased by 2400 between August and September in seasonally adjusted terms.
That followed three consecutive months of jobs growth, leaving total employment 9400 below its pre-pandemic peak (261,400 in February).
Deloitte said notable speed limits on Tasmanian growth remained.
"Longer term prospects largely depend on how the rest of Australia and the global economy fares in controlling the virus and reopening borders," it said.
"The looming prospect of a vaccine gives Tasmania hope that exports services will eventually bounce back.
"Yet, even on optimistic timelines, it will still be some time until things are considered business as usual."
Deloitte noted the relatively large amount of state government stimulus spending and suggested the "public purse" would be pivotal to Tasmania's recovery for some time.
"To help with the recovery, the state government has enacted one of the largest stimulus packages Tassie has ever seen, totalling roughly 3 per cent of state income," it said.
"Going forward, it looks like targeted fiscal spending will be the go-to option for supporting Tassie's most affected industries."
The report noted Tasmania's successful use of being an island and border controls to limit the virus.
"In the months since, the state has largely steadied the COVID ship, allowing Tassie to take significant steps towards a normal way of life," it said.
"Locals can shop in stores, visit restaurants and travel the state."
It said that had boosted business conditions, which were the best in the nation, with confidence not far behind.
"Tasmanians are starting to spend again, to the point retail trade has bounced back above pre-COVID levels," it said.
"That's a remarkable achievement for a state with more than its fair share of structural problems."
Unemployment was one of those.
"Before the crisis, Tassie's unemployment rate was at the top end of the country, and persistently so," Deloitte said.
"A combination of an ageing workforce, poorer than the national average educational attainment and a higher proportion of manual jobs led to Tassie trailing the rest of the country in job gains," it said.
"But when COVID hit, much of the structural weakness actually hid the state's pain.
"There are 40 per cent of businesses in Tassie receiving JobKeeper support, higher than in most other states.
"Given the eligibility requirements for JobKeeper, more of Tasmania's vulnerable workers have been eligible for the scheme than elsewhere.
"And when you're on JobKeeper, you're still counted as employed."