The Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages series sees increased variability across December and January, consistent with pronounced seasonality in the Australian labour market over this period.
The increases in labour market activity before Christmas followed by a combination of public holidays, school holidays and lower business activity (in many industries) in the period after Christmas results in a rise and fall around year-end in the Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages series and other ABS labour statistics (such as Labour Force, Australia).
Estimates presented in the Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia release are an ‘original’ data series and are not yet able to be produced with seasonal impacts removed. At least three years of data are required to produce seasonally adjusted estimates. The longstanding seasonally adjusted Labour Force statistics series can aid in the interpretation of labour statistics across periods of greater seasonality, especially through the COVID-19 period.
Seasonality in the Labour Force series
The original Labour Force series shows a regular seasonal high in December followed by a fall in January each year, in both the number of employees and weekly hours worked.
Seasonality at 2021 year-end
Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages data see a similar seasonal pattern at the end of 2021 to that seen a year earlier, although the recovery was more gradual into January 2022.
Increasing COVID-19 infections from mid-December 2021 and extreme weather events in January 2022 are factors influencing payroll jobs and wages over this period.