Close to 3% of jobs vacant in March quarter

Media Release

The total number of jobs increased by 0.6 per cent to 15 million jobs in the March quarter 2022, with the proportion of jobs that are vacant at a record high, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). There were 14.6 million filled jobs and around 420,000 vacant jobs.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said "The total number of jobs in the labour market reached 15 million for the first time in the March quarter 2022. The large increase in job vacancies over the pandemic meant vacant jobs accounted for 2.8 per cent of all jobs, the highest proportion recorded since the series commenced in 1994. It’s now close­­ to double what it was before the start of the pandemic (1.6 per cent).

“The high number of job vacancies shows the strong demand for workers across the economy, as businesses continued to respond to disruptions to their operations, together with labour shortages in all industries.

While there was a 0.4 per cent increase in filled jobs and a 0.8 per cent increase in employed people in the March quarter, hours worked declined by 0.9 per cent.

“The fall in hours worked over the quarter shows the combined effects of absences related to the Omicron variant and floods, together with higher than usual number of people taking annual leave in January," Mr Jarvis said.­

Multiple job-holding

The number of multiple job holders decreased by 1.3 per cent to 858,000 in the March quarter, with the number of secondary jobs falling by 0.4 per cent to 952,000.

As a result, the multiple job holding rate decreased to 6.3 per cent (from the series high of 6.4 per cent in December quarter 2021).

Hours worked

Total hours worked in the March quarter 2022 were down 0.9 per cent from December quarter 2021, to 5.3 billion hours. The industries with the largest decreases were Other services (down 8.0 per cent), Financial and insurance services (down 6.7 per cent), and Wholesale trade (also down 6.7 per cent).

The average hours worked per filled job declined 1.3 per cent. While average hours fell in most industries, increases were seen in Agriculture, forestry and fishing (4.1 per cent), Accommodation and food services (1.7 per cent) and Transport, postal and warehousing (1.0 per cent).

Filled jobs

The industries with the largest increases in filled jobs were Arts and recreation services, which rose by 6.6 per cent, and Electricity, gas, water and waste services, which grew by 5.6 per cent. In contrast, there were decreases of 7.0 per cent in Other services, and 3.0 per cent in Agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Vacant jobs

The largest growth in job vacancies over the quarter was in Wholesale trade (up 28.0 per cent), Other services (26.7 per cent) and Public administration and safety (22.7 per cent), while Information media and technology recorded the largest decrease (down 11.9 per cent).

“While 2.8 per cent of jobs were vacant across the whole economy, 4.8 per cent of Mining jobs were vacant (up from 3.3 per cent two years earlier) and 3.8 per cent of Financial and insurance services jobs were vacant (up from 2.5 per cent pre-pandemic),” Mr Jarvis said.

Job vacancies were higher than pre-pandemic levels in all industries. This ranged between Arts and recreation services (219 per cent higher than March quarter 2020) and Information media and telecommunications (30 per cent higher).

Media notes

  • 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 annual 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.

  • Total jobs includes both ‘filled jobs’ (jobs with employed people in them) and ‘vacant jobs’ (jobs without employed people in them that were available to be filled and for which recruitment activity had been undertaken).

  • Data contained in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted estimates, unless otherwise stated.

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.

  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).

  • A glossary of terms used in this media release is available with the publication.

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