Job vacancies surpass pre-COVID level

Media Release

The number of job vacancies in Australia increased by 23 per cent over the November 2020 quarter, according to new seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). On an annual basis, job vacancies were 12 per cent higher than November 2019.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: "Job vacancies rose by 48,000 in the November 2020 quarter, following the sharp rise of 77,000 in August, as COVID-related restrictions continued to be relaxed across Australia.

"There were 254,000 job vacancies in November, which was higher than the pre-COVID level in February. This reflected the pace of recovery in labour demand in the second half of the year and labour shortages in some industries."

Job vacancies in the private sector increased by 24 per cent over the quarter, and by 17 per cent in the public sector. Private sector vacancies in November were around 13 per cent above February, compared with 1 per cent for public sector vacancies. 

In original series terms, quarterly increases in vacancies were seen in all states and territories. Victoria was the only state with vacancies below its February level.

The three industries with the largest percentage increases in job vacancies in the November 2020 quarter were all industries that saw large falls in May, during the peak of the COVID-related restrictions: Arts and recreation services; Accommodation and food services; and Retail trade.

The rise in job vacancies in November follows the release of the ABS' Business Impacts of COVID-19 in December, which highlighted that around one in six employers did not have a sufficient number of employees, based on their current operations.

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

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.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via, (8.30am - 5.00pm Monday - Friday AEDT).
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