Payroll jobs growth continues to be slower in 2022

Media Release

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

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said “Payroll jobs fell leading into the Easter holidays. This is something that we usually see around public and school holidays.” 

The latest week of payroll data overlapped with both the start of school holidays and the Easter long weekend, which in 2022 was two weeks later than 2021.

The change in the timing of Easter between years can make it more difficult to compare data across years, given the ABS cannot yet produce seasonally adjusted statistics from this relatively new data.

“When interpreting the underlying change in the labour market over time, it is most useful to compare changes in payroll jobs across periods with similar seasonality,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Focussing on the period between the end of January, at the end of the summer school holidays, and the end of March, before Easter, we can see that payroll jobs increased by 1.9 per cent in 2022. This was below the 2.5 per cent increase over that period in 2021.

“However, while payroll jobs growth has continued to be slower in 2022 than 2021, the difference has also reduced over time, given the greater labour market impacts related to the Omicron variant and floods earlier in the year. Back at the end of February the growth rate in payroll jobs in 2022 was just over a third of what it had been in 2021.”

 Easter reference weeks are 3 April 2021 and 16 April 2022. The end of January reference weeks are 30 January in 2021 and 29 January 2022.

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 holiday periods. Information on employed people working reduced or no hours in April will be available in next week’s Labour Force release.

State and territory

Payroll jobs decreased in all states and territories in the month to 16 April 2022. The largest fall in payroll jobs was in New South Wales, down 1.0 per cent in the month to 16 April 2022, which was similar to the change seen in the month to 17 April 2021 (down 1.1 per cent).

Western Australia had the smallest fall in payroll jobs, down 0.4 per cent in the month to 16 April 2022, which was less than the fall seen a year earlier (down 0.7 per cent).


As with previous Easter periods, payroll jobs fell in the majority of industries (12 of 19 in 2022). The largest fall was in the Accommodation and food services industry (down 5.4 per cent), with payroll job losses in the industry accounting for one third (33.1 per cent) of total job losses in the month to 16 April 2022.

“Changes in payroll jobs in the Accommodation and food services industry continue to be greater than for most other industries – something that we have seen throughout the pandemic,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Payroll jobs growth in the industry was weaker in 2022 than in 2021, at both the end of March and at Easter. In addition to impacts on payroll jobs associated with the Omicron variant and floods, the industry has also seen relatively high numbers of job vacancies, which are more than double what they were before the pandemic.”

Easter reference weeks are 3 April 2021 and 16 April 2022. The end of January reference weeks are 30 January in 2021 and 29 January 2022.

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

  • There have been five weeks since the last reference period of 12 March 2022. Monthly change is the four week period between the weeks ending 19 March and 16 April 2022.
  • 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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