Insights into hours worked, May 2022

Released
16/06/2022

The ABS will continue to monitor changes in hours worked and provide additional analysis when relevant.

Hours worked increased by 0.9% (in seasonally adjusted terms) between April and May 2022, while employment increased by 0.5%. Throughout the pandemic, the hours worked series shows larger short-term changes than in the employed series, given that employees may be away from paid work for a short period without losing their job.  

Chart 1 shows that after the rise in May 2022, hours worked is 1.8% above the pre-Omicron COVID variant high of December 2021.

Source: Labour Force, Australia Tables 1 and 19

People working fewer hours than usual due to their own illness, injury or sick leave

Chart 2 shows an increase in the number of people working fewer hours due to continued disruption from the Omicron variant and influenza between April and May 2022. The number of people working fewer hours due to their own illness in May 2022 (780,500 people) was the highest level recorded during the pandemic.

Source: Labour Force, Australia Data Cube EM2a

Chart 3 shows the number of employed people working less hours due to own illness, by age. Age groups 25-39 years and 55 years and over showed an increase between April and May 2022. For those aged 15-24 years, an increase occurred earlier in 2022 and has stablised in recent months.

Source:  Labour Force, Australia Data Cube EM2a

Chart 4 shows employed people who worked fewer hours than usual due to their own illness, injury or sick leave in May over recent years, by State and Territory. The number of people working fewer hours than usual due to own illness increased in May 2022, almost double the usual number for May in most states.

Source:  Labour Force, Australia Data Cube EM2b

People working fewer hours than usual due to bad weather or plant breakdown

Chart 5 shows people working fewer hours due to bad weather or plant breakdown increased slightly in May 2022, mostly due to ongoing adverse weather in Queensland. This follows the large increase in March 2022 associated with flooding in New South Wales and Queensland.

Source: Labour Force, Australia Data Cube EM2a