Jobs fell by 378,000 in the September quarter

Media Release

Filled jobs fell by 2.6 per cent and hours worked fell by 4.7 per cent in the September quarter 2021, according to seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The fall in filled jobs (jobs with an employed person in them) in the September quarter was driven by large decreases in the Accommodation and food services and Retail trade industries. These industries are both large employers – together accounting for around 18 per cent of all filled jobs before the pandemic – and they contributed over half (53 per cent) of the fall in filled jobs in the September quarter”.

“The impacts from the Delta period were more concentrated in the Accommodation and food services and Retail trade industries than early in the pandemic. In the June quarter 2020, around 19 per cent of the fall in filled jobs was in Accommodation and food services, while filled jobs in Retail trade actually rose slightly, given the heightened retail activity early in the pandemic.”

“Filled jobs fell by 378,000 in the September quarter, including 308,000 fewer main jobs and 70,000 fewer secondary jobs. This relatively large fall in secondary jobs meant that the number of multiple job holders fell by 7.8 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said.

Hours worked fell by 4.7 per cent over the September quarter and were 3.6 per cent below pre pandemic levels.

“While not as pronounced as the quarterly fall in hours worked at the start of the pandemic, when there were large impacts across more industries and more parts of Australia, the decline in hours worked over the September quarter was the second largest fall in the series, which goes back to the mid-1990s.” Mr Jarvis said.

Industry insights

As seen throughout the pandemic, jobs in the customer-facing industries were the most impacted by trading and other restrictions.

The Accommodation and food services industry saw the largest decline in the number of filled jobs in the September quarter (down 143,000), while the 12.9 per cent decrease in filled jobs in Arts and recreation was the largest in proportional terms. Accommodation and food services experienced the sharpest decline in hours worked (30.6 per cent).

In contrast with the first wave of the pandemic, when Retail trade experienced a slight increase in filled jobs (up 1.1 per cent), filled jobs in this industry fell by 4.1 per cent during the Delta period.

Financial and insurance services was the only other industry to see an increase in filled jobs during June quarter 2020, and this industry also saw a fall in filled jobs in September quarter 2021 (2.5 per cent).

While the Construction and Administrative and support services industries experienced large declines in filled jobs early in the pandemic, in the September quarter 2021 Construction saw only a slight fall (down 5,000) while filled jobs in Administrative support services rose by 15,000.

“Sixteen of the nineteen industries saw a decline in filled jobs during September quarter, with thirteen of nineteen industries again below their pre-pandemic levels.” Mr Jarvis said.

Further information is available in Labour Account Australia.

Media notes

  • ‘Filled jobs’ refer to jobs with employed people in them. The Labour Account also includes information on job vacancies and total jobs.
  • The September quarter Labour Account includes revisions to previously published data. These reflect regular historical revisions, as well as a range of other method and data source enhancements. See Labour Account Australia for more information.
  • 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.
  • Data contained in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted estimates, unless otherwise stated.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri AEDT).
  • A glossary of terms used in this media release is available with the publication.
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