Tasmanian jobs are continuing to vanish amid coronavirus lockdowns in the two biggest states and the tourism sector is banking heavily on a reopening of borders in time for the Christmas season.
Payroll jobs in Tasmania fell by 0.7 per cent in the fortnight to August 28, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated.
That took estimated losses in the period from July 31 to 1.1 per cent (roughly 2500 jobs on this newspaper's estimate).
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said the lockdowns and border restrictions had exacerbated the sector's usual decline in casual employment in the winter months.
He said a $70 million federal and state government business support package Premier Peter Gutwein announced last week was "critically important to get us over the hump to Christmas".
"Businesses don't want to drop staff.
"The expectation is as soon as the drawbridge is down, we're going to be very busy.
"If we don't open at Christmas, we're in enormous trouble.
"That's why we've got to work towards that 80-90 per cent (vaccination) target."
Mr Martin said businesses in the sector had been wearing big losses on the basis of hoping for a strong summer.
"That's how important this package is and how important we open in summer," he said.
Finance Minister Michael Ferguson said: "The ongoing lockdowns on the mainland are continuing to have an impact on particular business sectors, and that's why our government will continue to provide the right supports at the right time to assist employers."
"It is exactly why we announced our expanded and supercharged $70 million business support package for businesses impacted by border closures in the tourism and hospitality industry, to provide support to get them through the lockdown periods while keeping their employees on.
"The additional direct flights from both Launceston and Hobart to Adelaide and Perth will also help in the lead-up to summer.
"Importantly, August employment is at our second highest level on record, and today's payroll jobs data for the end of August shows that jobs are 3.3 per cent higher than this time last year, which is higher than the recovery seen nationally of just 0.6 per cent.
"At the same time, we know that businesses are hiring, with August data showing that Tasmania has the second-highest growth in job vacancies in the country, compared to before the pandemic."
ABS figures released on September 16 estimated 600 fewer Tasmanians were employed in the first half of August than in the first half of July in seasonally adjusted terms.
Full-time employment was estimated to have fallen by 2000.
Female employment slid by 2900, while male employment increased by 2300.
The labor force figures for mid-August estimated national employment plunged by 146,000 people, mostly driven by a fall of 173,000 in New South Wales.
National employment dropped by 1.1 per cent, with New South Wales down by 4.2 per cent.
Tasmanian employment fell by 0.2 per cent, as did employment in the ACT, with Queensland down by 1.1 per cent and South Australia by 0.3 per cent.
Victorian employment grew by 0.8 per cent.