CANBERRA, AAP – Business failures are likely to rise again once retail banks and the Australian Taxation Office stop being so lenient on debt collection as they have been during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg jumped on figures suggesting a slew of business failures had been avoided during the pandemic, saying this was further proof Australia’s economic recovery is on track.

But digital credit reporting agency CreditorWatch explained the reason the number of external administrations has not grown through this period is due to COVID-related leniency from financial institutions and the ATO.

“Eventually, this situation will normalise, and defaults, court actions and administrations will return to more typical pre-COVID levels,” CreditorWatch CEO Patrick Coghlan says.

The agency’s latest business risk index found three of the top five regions around Australia with lowest risk of default are in regional Victoria, which it saw as a “stunning result” given much of the state has been in lockdown over the previous two years.

In contrast, metropolitan Melbourne has the worst outlook.

Meanwhile, Australia appears to be gearing up for a strong employment recovery after the recent COVID-19 lockdowns put a huge dent in the labour market.

Employers are busily trying to hire staff with online job advertiser SEEK reporting the highest number of ads in a month in its 23-year-plus history.

“A combination of the lifting of restrictions in our two largest employment markets, NSW and Victoria, along with businesses getting ready for what will hopefully be a bumper holiday period has had a huge impact on this month’s job ad volumes,” ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.

Job ads jumped 10.2 per cent in October and 63.2 per cent higher than a year earlier and 44 per cent up on October 2019 and prior to the pandemic.

The biggest growth in the month was among the jurisdictions coming out lockdown with NSW up 20.3 per cent, the ACT rising 19 per cent and Victoria 16.3 per cent higher.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its latest payroll jobs report for the fortnight ending October 16 on Wednesday, a prelude to its full labour force report for October on Thursday.

The monthly Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment for November is also released.