Job vacancies drop further in May

Media Release

There were 353,000 job vacancies in May 2024, down by 10,000 from February, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “The number of job vacancies fell further in May 2024, dropping by 2.7 per cent. This followed a fall of 6.2 per cent in February 2024.

“May 2024 marked two years since the peak in job vacancies in May 2022. Since then, vacancies have fallen by 26.0 per cent. 

“However, job vacancies were still well above their pre-COVID-19 pandemic level. There were still around 54.8 per cent, or around 125,000, more vacancies than in February 2020. 

The Job Vacancies Survey was suspended between August 2008 to August 2009 (inclusive). 

The decline in job vacancies was seen across many industries. The strongest quarterly percentage falls were in Wholesale trade (-30.7 per cent) and Manufacturing (-29.8 per cent). 

Only four industries had growth in job vacancies over the quarter. The strongest percentage rises were in Professional, scientific and technical services (15.9 per cent) and Public administration and safety (15.3 per cent). 

“Job vacancies remained higher than their pre-pandemic levels in 15 out of 18 industries. 

“This continued to be particularly pronounced in customer-facing industries, including Accommodation and food services, and Arts and recreation services, where vacancies are still more than double pre-pandemic levels,” Mr Jarvis said.

The latest Labour Account data showed that much of the recent growth in filled jobs was in the three non-market sector industries – Health care and social assistance, Education and training, and Public administration and safety. 

“This was also reflected in the latest job vacancies data, with these three industries’ share of total vacancies growing from around 27 per cent in May 2023 to 28 per cent in May 2024. The share was also considerably higher than the pre-pandemic 22 per cent in February 2020. 

“Health care and social assistance now accounts for the largest share of total vacancies – around 18 per cent or close to one in five vacancies,” Mr Jarvis said. 

Job vacancies dropped over the three months to May in both the private (-2.7 per cent) and public sectors (-2.5 per cent). 

There were also falls in job vacancies in most states and territories over the same time. South Australia saw the largest percentage drop (-17.3 per cent) followed by Western Australia (-12.3 per cent). The only rise was in the Northern Territory (15.2 per cent). 

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

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-pandemic' refers to the February 2020 Job Vacancies, which was before the main impact of restrictions on businesses.
  • Estimates in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted data for Australia and sector level. All other estimates are original series.
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