NSW payroll jobs fall 3.7% in the second half of July

Media Release

Payroll jobs fell by 2.0 per cent nationally and by 3.7 per cent in New South Wales in the fortnight to 31 July 2021, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The latest fortnight of data coincided with increasing restrictions in the fourth and fifth weeks of the lockdown in New South Wales, including a pause in construction activity. It also included lockdowns in Victoria and South Australia, and travel and border restrictions across all states and territories.

“Payroll jobs in New South Wales fell by 3.7 per cent in the second half of July, and by 7.1 per cent over the first five weeks since the lockdown began on 26 June.

“Over those five weeks, payroll jobs fell by 8.9 per cent in Greater Sydney and by 3.8 per cent in the rest of New South Wales. Outside of Sydney, payroll jobs in adjacent regions continued to be the most impacted.”

Weekly change from 26 June 2021 in NSW payroll jobs, by Greater Capital City Statistical Areas
Greater Sydney0.0%-2.4%-1.8%-2.3%-2.4%
Rest of NSW0.3%-1.8%-0.9%-0.7%-0.8%
Greater Sydney - cumulative change since 26 June0.0%-2.4%-4.2%-6.5%-8.9%
Rest of NSW - cumulative change since 26 June0.3%-1.5%-2.4%-3.1%-3.8%

Outside of New South Wales, the largest payroll job falls across the second half of July were in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland (down 2.7 per cent, 1.3 per cent and 1.3 per cent). These states all had lockdowns and/or travel and border restrictions during the fortnight.

Nationally, almost every industry saw falls in their payroll jobs in the second half of July. These falls were largest in the Arts and recreation services and Accommodation and food services industries (down 5.9 per cent and 5.8 per cent).

Among the larger employing industries, Accommodation and food services, Retail trade and Construction had the greatest shares of payroll job losses in the fortnight to 31 July.

“Payroll job losses in the Accommodation and food services, Retail trade and Construction industries accounted for 44.3 per cent of job losses across Australia in the second half of July, and 45.4 per cent in New South Wales,” Mr Jarvis said.

New South Wales accounted for a particularly large share of national job losses in these three industries, accounting for around half of payroll jobs lost in Accommodation and food services, around two thirds in Retail trade, and around three quarters in the Construction industry.

Across the second half of July, there was a larger fall in payroll jobs worked by men (down 2.2 per cent) than those worked by women (down 1.7 per cent). This partly reflected payroll job losses in the Construction industry, which has a high proportion of men.

In New South Wales, payroll jobs worked by men fell by 4.1 per cent across the second half of July and by 3.3 per cent for those worked by women.

“While payroll job losses in New South Wales were greater for men during the fourth and fifth weeks of the lockdown, this followed larger falls for women in the first three weeks (4.4 per cent, compared with 2.6 per cent for men). Over the five weeks, payroll jobs worked by women in the state were down 7.5 per cent and by 6.6 per cent for men,” Mr Jarvis said.

Payroll jobs only include jobs where a person was paid through the payroll in a pay period. Some of the fall in payroll jobs includes employees who remained attached to their job but were temporarily stood down and not paid by their employer.

"In comparing different payroll job falls over the pandemic, it's important to remember that current COVID-related government support payments are paid directly to people or businesses, rather than through payrolls," Mr Jarvis said.

Today’s release includes an update to how the ABS produces payroll jobs and wages. The time between the reference week and the release date has been extended to allow for more complete business reporting.

“Our new approach will reduce the magnitude of revisions and volatility in the latest data,” Mr Jarvis said.

The ABS acknowledges the continued support from the Australian Taxation Office in enabling the ABS to produce weekly insights into the Australian labour market.

Media notes

  • While Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA) don’t necessarily align with the areas covered by public health orders, they are similar enough to provide useful insights. GCCSA and substate data are available with each release, in Tables 5 and 5a.
  • Payroll jobs are not seasonally adjusted, which generally requires at least three years of data. The seasonal changes accounted for in the longstanding Labour Force statistics series should be considered when interpreting impacts and recovery in employment statistics through the COVID-19 period. 
  • Payroll jobs are predominantly employee jobs paid through payrolls. Some industries, such as Agriculture, forestry and fishing and Construction have high proportions of owner managers. For more information, see the Scope and coverage section of the Methodology of this release.

  • In each release, as more complete data are received, payroll jobs and wages estimates are revised. Fortnightly releases coinciding with the start of month involve higher rates of imputation for payroll jobs with monthly pay frequencies. This can contribute to greater revisions in subsequent releases. Industries with higher proportions of monthly pay frequencies, such as Mining, are particularly affected.
  • While the ABS accounts for employees being paid with different frequencies, additional reporting activity may flow through to published estimates at some points of the year (such as the end of the financial year).
  • 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 media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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