Payroll jobs 1.8% higher than February 2021

Media Release

Payroll jobs rose 0.8 per cent in the fortnight to 12 February 2022 and were 1.8 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The latest data shows payroll jobs continued to rise in late January and early February 2022, but at a slower pace than in early 2020 and early 2021.”  

a. Week 0 refers to the week ending 4 January 2020, 2 January 2021 and 1 January 2022. Week 4 reflects payroll jobs at the end of January and Week 6 in the middle of February.

Accounting for seasonality in payroll jobs and wages

“Annual comparisons are a useful way of accounting for seasonality, until we have enough years of data to produce seasonally adjusted figures,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Annual growth in payroll jobs (1.8 per cent to 12 February 2022) was just over half of that seen in the previous year (3.2 per cent to 13 February 2021), reflecting the slower start to 2022.

“In contrast, total wages were 7.0 per cent higher in 2022 than 2021, compared to 5.5 per cent annual growth a year earlier (between February 2020 and February 2021).

“The increase in total wages is not an indication of the underlying wage growth reported in the ABS’ Wage Price Index. In addition to reflecting increases in the number of payroll jobs, the Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages release also includes compositional changes - from the hours people are working to periodic payments of bonuses or overtime.”

a. Mid-February is 15 February 2020, 13 February 2021 and 12 February 2022.

State and territory

Payroll jobs increased in all states and territories in the fortnight to 12 February 2022, which also coincided with the end of school holidays across the country. Queensland resumed schooling two weeks later than usual, which contributed to a smaller than usual rise in payroll jobs (up 0.1 per cent) in the latest fortnight.

The annual growth in payroll jobs was greatest in Western Australia (up 4.5 per cent) and lowest in New South Wales (up 0.2 per cent).

a. Mid-February is 15 February 2020, 13 February 2021 and 12 February 2022.


Payroll jobs increased in eleven out of nineteen industries in the fortnight to 12 February. Payroll jobs in the Education and training industry rose by 7.4 per cent across the fortnight as students resumed studies, which was similar to the seasonal rises in the same period in the previous two years. 

The Rental, hiring and real estate services industry saw the greatest decline in payroll jobs over the fortnight (down 1.4 per cent).

Compared with a year ago, annual growth in payroll jobs was greatest in Mining (up 6.7 per cent) and lowest in Accommodation and food services (down 10.8 per cent).

Age groups

While payroll jobs increased across all age groups in the fortnight to 12 February, the annual growth was particularly pronounced for younger and older workers.

“The increase in both payroll jobs and employment (in Labour Force statistics) for younger workers has been particularly strong over the past year, as we approach the end of the second year of the pandemic,” Mr Jarvis said.

a. Mid-February is 15 February 2020, 13 February 2021 and 12 February 2022.

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

  • Payroll jobs can show larger short-term changes than Labour Force statistics on employment, given that employees may be away from paid work for a short period without losing their job, particularly during the Australian summer. Information on employed people working reduced or no hours in February will be available in next week’s Labour Force release.

  • Payroll jobs are not seasonally adjusted, which generally requires at least three years of data. The longstanding seasonally adjusted Labour Force statistics series can aid in the interpretation of labour statistics across periods of greater seasonality, 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. The magnitude of revisions can vary at some points of the year, such as the end of the financial year and calendar year in line with changes in the reporting activity of businesses. 

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) must be attributed as the source.

  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team at (8:30am to 5pm Monday to Friday AEST).

  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.

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