Data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics shows the loss of payroll jobs in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands to be under the NSW average but a University of Wollongong academic says it's not all good news.
The ABS weekly payroll jobs data shows since the 100th coronavirus case in Australia, the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands have seen a 2.7 per cent drop in jobs.
This compares to a NSW-wide drop of 5.3 per cent in jobs, the Illawarra was the only region in NSW to have a smaller drop than the Shoalhaven.
But University of Wollongong associate professor Martin O'Brien said although the drop is low, it doesn't tell the full story.
"When you look at the Shoalhaven and South Coast in general they were hit pretty hard by the bushfires so it was quite a weak labour market at the beginning, especially compared to the Sydney or NSW labour market in general," Professor O'Brien said.
"So as they started from a weaker point there was only so far they could fall, especially with some of those hospitality jobs that are so reliant on tourism and tourism was unusually low over summer.
On the other hand the Shoalhaven is also over-represented in public service jobs, aged care and health care and they are sectors least likely to be affected.
With unemployment in the area already high, job losses aren't accurately reflected in the statistics.
"In areas such as Nowra, St Georges Basin, Erowal Bay, Sussen Inlet, Berrara - the most recent unemployment rates were around 15 per cent to begin with.
"If jobs are lost and there a quite a high number of people unemployed they're not reflected in the statistics because it's a weak labour market to begin with."
Payroll jobs data is a new form of data release by the ABS, it uses Single Touch Payroll data, which is provided to the Australian Taxation Office by businesses.
Employees on Jobkeeper are collected in the data.
Professor O'Brien said the payroll data has advantages over the labour force survey, which can take a long time to collect and is limited for regional areas.
The payroll data does have limitations though as it doesn't capture cash-based income.
"If there's anything that's outside the payroll system it's not going to be collected," he said.