Payroll job losses recovered within a year

Media Release

In the year to 13 March 2021, total payroll jobs rose 0.2 per cent, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “We now have weekly payroll jobs data for a full year of the pandemic, which present a week by week picture of labour market impacts and recovery.

“When we first released these data, we were highlighting the impacts of the nationwide COVID-19 restrictions in late March 2020, which saw payroll jobs fall by 8.5 per cent by mid-April.

“The data then showed a steady recovery in payroll jobs until it slowed in mid-July 2020 and we saw second wave impacts in Victoria.

“After a seasonal peak and fall across the summer months, payroll jobs at mid-March 2021 were slightly above the levels of a year earlier.”

By mid-March 2021, most state and territory payroll jobs had either reached or passed levels of a year ago. Tasmania and Victoria were the exceptions, remaining 1.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent below mid-March 2020.

Mr Jarvis said the data also highlighted the variations in payroll jobs losses and recovery between industries.

“In mid-April 2020, the most impacted industries were Accommodation and food services and Arts and recreation services, with a combined fall in payroll jobs of almost 35 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said  

“By mid-March 2021, payroll jobs in Arts and recreation services had almost fully recovered (down 0.7 per cent). By comparison, Accommodation and food services remained the most impacted industry, with payroll jobs 11.1 per cent lower than a year ago.”

Further information is available in A year of COVID-19 through payroll jobs and wages statistics.

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

Media notes

  • 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 recovery in employment statistics through the COVID period.
  • In each release, as more complete data are received, payroll jobs and wages estimates are revised.
  • While the ABS accounts for employees being paid with different frequencies, there are points in the year when additional reporting activity is more likely to occur, which may flow through to published estimates.
  • Estimates of payroll jobs by industry subdivision, through to the week ending 13 March 2021, will be added to this release on Wednesday 31 March 2021. 

  • 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 (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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