Payroll jobs in mid-February slightly down on last year

Media Release
Released
3/03/2021

Payroll jobs in mid-February were 0.5 per cent lower than a year earlier, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. 

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “Payroll jobs remained steady in the fortnight between the end of January and mid-February. As a result, over this period payroll jobs went from being around their 2020 level to being slightly below.

“Payroll jobs in mid-February 2021 remained 1.3 per cent below the start of the pandemic. Around 85 per cent of payroll jobs lost in the first month of the pandemic had been regained.”

All states and territories, other than Victoria and Western Australia, saw an increase in payroll jobs in the fortnight to 13 February. The largest increase was in the Northern Territory (up 1.4 per cent). 

Payroll jobs decreased by 0.4 per cent in both Victoria and Western Australia, with the latter affected by lockdown restrictions in the first week of February.

Differences were also seen across industries in early February.

“Amongst the five largest employing industries, payroll jobs rose across the fortnight in two; Education and training and Retail trade (up 2.8 per cent and 0.2 per cent),” Mr Jarvis said.

“These increases were offset by falls in the three other large employing industries; Professional, scientific and technical services, Accommodation and food services and Health care and social assistance (down 2.0 percent, 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent).” 

These five industries represented 48% of total payroll jobs on 14 March 2020.

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 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 recovery in employment statistics through the COVID period.
  • In each release, as more complete data are received, payroll jobs and wages estimates 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 industry subdivision, through to the week ending 13 February 2021, will be added to this release on Thursday 4 March 2021. 
  • 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 media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.