Payroll jobs fully recovered before seasonal drop

Media Release

Payroll jobs had recovered to pre-COVID levels by early December 2020, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “Early to mid-December is a seasonal peak for jobs each year. The latest data shows that, at that point, payroll jobs had increased back to the level of mid-March.

“The data also shows the seasonal fall in payroll jobs later in December, following a similar seasonal pattern to last year, before the start of the pandemic.

“This also aligns with what we see in Labour Force statistics each year, particularly in hours worked through December and January.”

a. Data for 2019 are presented for visual comparison only, as they have not been fully quality assured and are affected by under-coverage and year-end reporting variability.

Nationally, payroll jobs fell 5.5 per cent across the fortnight to 2 January 2021 and were 6.1 per cent below mid-March 2020.

Further information is available in Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia.

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 data are not seasonally adjusted. 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. Further information is presented in the Year-end data variability section of this release.
  • This release includes information on payroll jobs paid through Single Touch Payroll enabled software to the Australian Taxation Office.
  • In each release, as more complete data are received, payroll jobs and wages estimates (including percentage change movement and indexes) 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 sub-state regions (Statistical Area 4 and 3) and industry subdivision, through to the week ending 2 January 2021, will be added to this release on Wednesday 20 January 2021. 
  • An interactive map examining change in payroll jobs through 2020 in SA4 and SA3 regions will be updated in this release on Friday 22 January 2021.
  • The additional ABS products being published to understand the economic impact of the coronavirus can be found on the ABS COVID-19 page.
  • 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 at (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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