Payroll jobs fall into July

Media Release

Payroll jobs fell 0.8 per cent in the month to 16 July 2022, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said: “While some of the fall in payroll jobs over late June and into early July reflects the seasonal influence of school holidays on the labour market, together with end of financial year seasonality in payroll reporting, it also covers a period with increasing employee absences from COVID and other illnesses.

“During periods of high employee absences, we’ve seen that payroll jobs data can show slower growth and larger short-term changes than Labour Force statistics on employment, given employees without paid leave entitlements may be away from work for a short period without losing their job.”

The interpretation of change in payroll jobs around the end of financial year can be particularly challenging, until business reporting is more complete.

“As employers finalise their employees’ earnings information and the financial year is reset in payrolls, estimates of payroll jobs can show a higher level of variation and subsequent revisions, particularly around June and July.” Mr Jarvis said.

Changes over time

The employee absences up to mid-July 2022 follow a sequence of labour market disruptions outside of seasonality, as seen in previous years. This period in 2021 coincided with the emergence of the COVID Delta variant, while in 2020 the labour market had just started to recover from the initial pandemic outbreak.

“While employee absences have impacted on week-to-week changes in payroll jobs in recent months, underlying growth has generally continued through the year. By mid-July 2022, payroll jobs were 4.5 per cent above mid-July 2021 and 9.9 per cent above mid-July 2020,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This also reflects what we have seen in terms of increases in payroll jobs since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, with around 8 per cent more payroll jobs in mid-July 2022, compared with around 4 per cent more by mid-July 2021.”

Week 1 represents the week ending 4 January 2020, 2 January 2021 and 1 January 2022. Week 29 represents the week ending 18 July 2020, 17 July 2021 and 16 July 2022.

State and territory

Payroll jobs fell in all states and territories in the month to mid-July, with the largest falls in the Northern Territory (down 1.2 per cent) and Victoria (down 1.1 per cent).  Most states and territories saw the majority of the fall in the second fortnight of the month.

The timing of school holidays differs between states and territories, reflected in different seasonality in the weekly payroll jobs data. For example, there was a slight dip in payroll jobs in the last fortnight of June in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. These jurisdictions commenced their Winter term break in the last week of June 2022, at least a week earlier than other parts of the country.

Men and women

Over the month to mid-July, payroll jobs fell for both men (down 1.1 per cent) and women (down 0.7 per cent).

“While the recent changes in payroll jobs were relatively similar for men and women, over the past year there has been a much larger increase in payroll jobs worked by women – 3.7 per cent, compared with 0.3 per cent for men,” Mr Jarvis said.

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

Media notes

  • Due to increased variability in Single Touch Payroll reporting around the end of the financial year (particularly for wages data), the ABS will not be publishing wages indexes in this release. Wages indexes will be reinstated in the September 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 who are not included in payroll reporting. 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 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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