CANBERRA, AAP – Payroll jobs fell two per cent in the final weeks of July, including a big drop in locked-down NSW, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

It said NSW payroll jobs declined by 3.7 per cent in the fortnight to July 31.

“The latest fortnight of data coincided with increasing restrictions in the fourth and fifth weeks of the lockdown in NSW, including a pause in construction activity,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said on Thursday.

“It also included lockdowns in Victoria and South Australia, and travel and border restrictions across all states and territories.”

The report provides a guide to the monthly official labour force report.

The July labour force report released last week surveyed the jobs market up to July 17.

It showed an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate to 4.6 per cent when economists had expected a small rise to five per cent.

This was the result of fewer people looking for work during the NSW lockdown, and a strong recovery in Victoria after it emerged from an earlier shutdown.

Victoria has since returned to a lockdown until September 2.

The ABS also said business investment rose by a stronger than expected 4.4 per cent in the June quarter, providing a boost to the national accounts that are due next Wednesday.

Economists had predicted a 2.5 per cent increase.

Total new private capital expenditure was $32.7 billion in the June quarter, 11.5 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Investment in building and structures rose by 4.6 per cent to $16.9 billion, while equipment, plant and machinery investment rose by 4.3 per cent to $15.8 billion.

The latest estimate for future investment for the 2021/22 financial year was $127.7 billion, 12.5 per cent higher than the previous forecast.

Its release comes a day after June quarter construction figures proved much weaker than expectations, raising concerns that the economy may have stalled or even gone backwards in the quarter.

Reports for business profits, inventories and international trade for the June quarter are due early next week.