200,000 more job vacancies than before the pandemic

Media Release
Released
31/03/2022

There were 423,000 job vacancies in February 2022, 27,000 more than November 2021 and around 200,000 more than February 2020, according to new seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “Job vacancies continued to reach new record highs through the pandemic.

“The number of job vacancies in February 2022 was 7 per cent higher than in November 2021, when many businesses were emerging from the Delta lockdowns. There were around an extra 200,000 job vacancies than in February 2020 – around 86 per cent higher.

“The high number of vacancies shows the strong demand for workers across the economy, as businesses are responding to disruptions to operations, together with labour shortages across the economy.”

Recent Labour Account data showed that job vacancies accounted for 2.7 per cent of all jobs in the December quarter 2021. This share was the highest it had been in the three decades of Labour Account data, and well above the 1.6 per cent share at the start of the pandemic.

”In addition to a higher number of vacancies, the percentage of businesses reporting at least one vacancy also rose, from 21 per cent in November 2021 to 24 per cent in February 2022. This was more than double February 2020 (11 per cent),” Mr Jarvis said.

“Job vacancies were much higher than before the pandemic in all industries, with many businesses continuing to report difficulties in filling their vacancies." 

The industries with the highest growth in vacancies over the past two years were Accommodation and food services (213 per cent), Arts and recreation services (211 per cent), and Rental, hiring and real estate services (191 per cent) – all of which are customer-facing industries for which employment and hours have been particularly impacted during the pandemic.

Job vacancies were also much higher than before the pandemic in all states and territories. The increases over the past two years ranged from around an extra two-thirds (64 per cent) in New South Wales to almost triple (196 per cent) in the Northern Territory. 

Vacancies in the private and public sectors both increased to a similar extent over the three months to February (7 per cent and 9 per cent), though private sector vacancies were still much higher than before the pandemic (90 per cent, compared with 51 per cent in the public sector). 

The ABS would like to thank businesses in Australia for their continued support in responding to our surveys during these challenging times.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For the purposes of this publication, 'pre-COVID' refers to the February 2020 Job Vacancies, which was before the main impact of restrictions on businesses.
  • Job vacancies in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted data for Australia and sector level. All other estimates are original series.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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