Payroll jobs fell further in the early weeks of August, under pressure from COVID-19 lockdowns, pointing to a spike in the unemployment rate in coming months.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said payroll jobs fell by a further 0.7 per cent in the fortnight to August 14 compared to a fall of 1.8 per cent in the previous two weeks.
The largest falls were in NSW, down 1.2 per cent, followed by Queensland off one per cent, the ACT 0.7 per cent lower and Victoria declining 0.6 per cent.
"These four states and territories had lockdowns for either all or part of the first half of August, in addition to existing restrictions and border closures across the country," ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.
The data is a guide to the full labour force report for August due next Thursday.
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has warned the unemployment rate will increase in coming months as the economy takes a hit from COVID-19 lockdowns.
Commonwealth Bank group economists expect that the official August labour force data will show around 300,000 job losses with the unemployment rate lifting from 4.6 per cent to 5.2 per cent.
There were also further signs demand for workers is rapidly easing.
Job advertisements posted through the SEEK network dropped 5.3 per cent in August, figures on Thursday showed.
"Perhaps unsurprisingly, states and territories under the strictest lockdowns each saw a decline in job ad volumes," SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.
Ads in NSW declined 10.7 per cent in August, while they were 6.3 per cent lower in Victoria.
Dr Lowe expects the economy to resume its recovery in the December quarter, calling the impact of having lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT temporary.
National Australia Bank CEO Ross McEwan expects the recovery will be more "bumpy" and will rely on opening up the economy under national plan guidelines.
"We don't believe it will be the same enormous bounce back we had after the big contraction last (year)," Mr McEwan told the House of Representatives economic committee.
NAB expects the economy will contract by 3.5 per cent in the September quarter and return to a positive trajectory in the final three months of the year.
It expects the economy to grow by four per cent in 2022.
Westpac CEO Peter King told the hearing his economists expect the economy to contract by four per cent in the September quarter, but rebound by seven per cent over 2022.
"Westpac is confident in the underlying strength of the Australian economy, and that the current lockdown period will be followed by a strong bounce back in 2022," Mr King said.