Payroll jobs fall 1% during end of June lockdowns

Media Release

Payroll jobs fell by 1.0 per cent nationally in the fortnight to 3 July 2021, following a 0.4 per cent rise 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 overlapped with increased COVID-19 restrictions in most states and territories, including lockdowns in four of the eight capital cities. It also coincided with school holidays in most states and territories.

“Payroll jobs fell in every state and territory in the fortnight to 3 July 2021, with the largest falls seen in states and territories with lockdowns during this period. This ranged from a fall of 1.4 per cent in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, to 1.1 per cent in Western Australia and 1.0 per cent in Queensland.”

“Through the end of June and into early July, people living in capital cities and surrounding urban areas were generally more impacted by payroll job losses than rural and regional areas. This was particularly true in New South Wales, where payroll jobs in Greater Sydney fell by 1.9 per cent, compared with a 0.4 per cent fall in the rest of NSW,” Mr Jarvis said.

“A greater impact was also seen in Greater Brisbane compared with the rest of Queensland, but the impacts were more even in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.”

“The Accommodation and food services industry has seen larger falls in payroll job than other industries during the pandemic. In the latest fortnight, states and territories with lockdowns saw falls in payroll jobs in the Accommodation and food services industry ranging from 4.0 per cent in New South Wales to 0.1 per cent in the Northern Territory. By comparison, Victorian payroll jobs in the Accommodation and food services industry rose 2.9 per cent across the fortnight, as restrictions eased after their early June lockdown.”

While some states and territories were not in lockdown during the fortnight to 3 July 2021, increased border restrictions affected interstate travel, contributing to a 3.0 per cent national fall in payroll jobs in the Transport, postal and warehousing industry.

In recent releases the ABS has noted that Single Touch Payroll reporting is more variable at the end of the financial year - particularly for wages data. This reflects greater variation in business payroll reporting as employers finalise their employee earnings information and the financial year resets in payroll systems. Given this variability in wages information, the ABS will not be publishing wages indexes in this release. Recent analysis has shown that the production of useful wages indexes will not be possible until further information for July is available. Wages indexes will be reinstated as soon as possible.

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 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.
  • While Greater Capital City Statistical Areas don’t necessarily align with the areas covered by public health orders, they are similar enough to provide useful insights.
  • 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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