Payroll jobs remain relatively flat

Media Release

The number of payroll jobs in mid-October remained relatively flat to mid-September, down by 0.3 per cent, 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 by 0.7 per cent in the second half of September and rose by 0.4 per cent in the first half of October, as people returned to work after the school holidays.”

“This followed a similar seasonal pattern across September and October in previous years, though closer to 2020 than 2021, given the pronounced recovery from the Delta-related lockdowns late last year.”  

Week 0 represents the week ending 4 January 2020, 2 January 2021 and 1 January 2022. Week 41 represents the week ending 17 October 2020, 16 October 2021 and 15 October 2022.


Payroll jobs in mid-October were below their mid-September level in 12 of the 19 industries.

“Across these industries, Accommodation and food services and Education and training, which were particularly affected by school holidays, had the largest share of falls. Together they accounted for around 54 per cent of the payroll jobs losses in the month, which was much greater than their usual share of total payroll jobs (around 16 per cent),” Mr Jarvis said.

“In contrast, Retail trade and Construction accounted for around 59 per cent of payroll job increases in the month to mid-October, also well above their usual share of jobs (around 16 per cent).”

Remaining industries are not the same group of industries in 'losses over month' and 'rises over month' groups.

States and territories

Payroll jobs fell in 6 of 8 states and territories in the month to mid-October 2022, with the largest falls in New South Wales (down 0.5 per cent), Queensland and the Northern Territory (both down 0.4 per cent).

Both Victoria and Western Australia saw no change (0.0 per cent) in payroll jobs across the month to mid-October 2022. Payroll job increases in the Construction and Retail trade industries in Victoria, and Health care and social assistance industry in Western Australia offset falls from other industries in those states.

Some of the differences in growth in payroll jobs across the states and territories reflects the variation in the timing of their school and public holidays.

Seasonality in wages

Total wages paid fell 5.5 per cent in the month to mid-October 2022, following a seasonal increase in the previous month, reflecting the payment of periodic bonuses in multiple industries around September each year.

As Single Touch Payroll data does not currently separate bonuses and other types of payment, such as overtime from wages and salaries, it is not possible to identify underlying movements in core wages and salaries in these statistics. It is important to consider seasonality in these additional payments, particularly around the end of quarters and financial years, when assessing changes over time.

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

  • 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 pandemic.
  • 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 in 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. 
  • To learn more about our different labour measures, their purpose and how to use them, see our new Guide to labour statistics. It provides summary information on labour market topics including Industry employment and Earnings data.
  • 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).
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