Xero small business insights show small business revenues and hiring intentions ticked up encouragingly in September.
The average number of jobs in the small business sector rose by almost 1 per cent across the country last month, after falling 1.4 per cent in August. Small business employment is now sitting at 1.8 per cent below pre-crisis levels.
The latest data shows small business revenue was up 3.4 per cent year-on-year in September.
During Auckland's second lockdown under level 3, small business jobs in the city dropped by 1.7 per cent. Revenue growth in the country's most populous city began last month, up 3.1 per cent.
All regions, with the exception of Queenstown and Otago, experienced a rise in revenue in September. Northland experienced a 10.7 per cent increase and Canterbury a 7.1 per cent increase.
Revenue in Queenstown dropped 10.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent in Otago.
Craig Hudson, Xero managing director for New Zealand and Pacific Islands, said it was encouraging to see revenues improving year-on-year across other regions of Aotearoa.
"It appears people are taking the message of buying local to heart and really embracing local small business to help keep our economy thriving," Hudson said.
Most sectors experienced growth in September, manufacturing was up 11 per cent year-on-year, construction 9 per cent, retail trade 8 per cent and real estate 6 per cent.
Hospitality remains the most affected industry and recorded a 7 per cent decrease in revenue in September when compared to the same time last year. The 7 per cent decrease was an improvement on the 9 per cent recorded in August.
"We have also seen the average time it takes for small businesses to get paid stabilise at a rate slightly faster than pre-Covid (25.1 days), suggesting Kiwis are making an effort to settle invoices and pay bills on time to support suppliers. That will be a big help to many of our small businesses," Hudson said.
Recovery on the employment front was mixed in the month.
Regionally, jobs were up compared to March 2020, while reported jobs were below pre-crisis levels in Auckland (down 2.8 per cent), Northland (7.9 per cent), Queenstown (6.1 per cent) and Waikato (3 per cent).
The number of jobs in the small business sector rose in Wellington, up 3.9 per cent, Hawke's Bay, up 3 per cent, and Canterbury up 2.2 per cent.
"While most regions are yet to recover all jobs lost since March, the fact jobs numbers haven't declined further as wage subsidies begin to wane is promising," Hudson added.
"Looking at the employment figures compared to revenue, it seems hospitality business owners are working longer hours without hiring extra hands due to the uncertainty of the future."
Hospitality jobs remain the hardest hit with employment figures down 10.8 per cent on the first week of March pre-crisis figures.