Falls in jobs and hours in the March quarter


Filled jobs fell by 0.1 per cent and hours worked by 0.8 per cent between the December and March quarters, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said “The Labour Account shows the extent of the early impacts from COVID-19 on jobs and hours across the first quarter of the year.”

Filled jobs decreased for the first time since September quarter 2016. This decrease was driven by a fall in jobs in the private sector (down by 0.1 per cent over the quarter), while public sector jobs increased by 0.8 per cent.

The rate of multiple job holding remained steady at 6.0 per cent of all employed people.

The number of job vacancies decreased by 0.2 per cent over the quarter, and was down 2.2 per cent on March quarter 2019.

“While restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 came into effect late in the quarter, they were extensive enough to lead to a fall in hours worked in the quarter of 0.8 per cent, which was the largest quarterly decline since the Global Financial Crisis in June 2009,“ Mr Jarvis said.

“In line with the impact seen in other indicators, the largest decline in hours worked was in the Accommodation and food services industry, a decrease of 13.6 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said.

The Labour Account is the best source of headline information on employment by industry and sector, drawing upon the broad range of labour market statistics the ABS produces. It contains a range of key indicators for jobs, people, hours worked and labour income back to September 1994.

Further details can be found in Labour Account Australia (cat. no. 6150.0.55.003). These are available for free download from www.abs.gov.au.

Media note

  • The Australian Labour Account complements other ABS measures to build a more comprehensive picture of the labour market. Labour Account data provides the number of filled jobs at a point-in-time each quarter, while the Jobs in Australia data provides insights into all jobs held throughout the year, and Labour Force Survey data measures the number of people employed each month.
  • Data contained in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted estimates, unless otherwise stated.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media team at media@abs.gov.au or on 1300 175 070 (8.30 am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
  • A glossary of terms used in this media releases is available with the publication.

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