NSW payroll jobs fell 4.4% in first half of July

Media Release

Payroll jobs fell by 2.4 per cent nationally in the fortnight to 17 July 2021, following a 0.2 per cent fall in the previous fortnight, 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 school holidays in every state and territory, the second and third weeks of the Greater Sydney lockdown, increased COVID-19 restrictions in other parts of New South Wales and the first two days of lockdown in Victoria.”

“While every state and territory saw a fall in payroll jobs across the fortnight, the falls were much larger in New South Wales (down 4.4 per cent) and neighbouring Australian Capital Territory (down 2.4 per cent).”

New South Wales usually accounts for around a third (32.0 per cent) of total payroll jobs and Victoria around a quarter (26.2 per cent). As a result, lockdowns in these two states contributed to a strong fall in payroll jobs nationally.

Rest of Australia excludes New South Wales and Victoria.

“The Accommodation and food services and Arts and recreation services industries saw large falls over the fortnight, down by 19.0 per cent and 18.0 per cent in New South Wales and by 8.7 per cent and 4.5 per cent nationally,” Mr Jarvis said.

“As we saw in the early weeks of the pandemic last year, payroll jobs held by women and workers under 30 were particularly impacted, especially in New South Wales.”

"In comparing payroll job losses over time, it's important to remember that current government support payments around COVID restrictions are paid directly to people or businesses, rather than through payrolls," Mr Jarvis said.

"Employees who were temporarily stood down and were not paid by their employer will be reflected in a fall in payroll jobs. The next Labour Force release, on 19 August, will provide insights into how many of these people retained an attachment to their job in July and how hours worked were impacted.”

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

  • The reference period in this release is the week ending 17 July 2021 and Single Touch Payroll transactions covering the change in financial year are still being received. There continues to be greater variation in business payroll reporting as employers finalise their employee earnings information for the most recent financial year and the financial year resets in payroll systems. Given this variability in wages information the ABS has not published wages indexes in this release but will resume publishing these as soon as possible. 
  • The restrictions on the Construction industry in New South Wales were implemented after the latest week of data included in this release (on 19 July 2021).
  • 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 require 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 period. 
  • 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).
  • The planned change to a monthly release frequency has been delayed given the current restrictions and lockdowns across the country. For the latest information on the planned changes, see Upcoming changes to this release.
  • 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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