Payroll jobs rise 1.3% as lockdowns ease

Media Release

Payroll jobs rose by 1.3 per cent in the fortnight to 16 October 2021, following a fall of 0.5 per cent in the previous fortnight, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “Payroll jobs increased through the first half of October, as lockdowns and other restrictions eased – particularly in New South Wales (up 3.5 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (up 2.4 per cent) and Victoria (up 0.8 per cent).

During the latest fortnight there were noticeable differences in week-to-week changes, which reflected changes in lockdown conditions and seasonal changes around the end of the school holidays.

“The latest week of data, which ended on 16 October, coincided with lockdowns and other restrictions starting to ease in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, with payroll jobs increasing by 2.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent over that week.

“The week-to-week data also shows some businesses preparing for reopening, beyond the increases we would normally expect to see after the school holidays. This was seen in the week to 9 October in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, and in Victoria in the week to 16 October.”

Changes in payroll jobs over the fortnight for the other five states and territories ranged between a 0.4 per cent rise in Queensland to a 0.4 per cent fall in Tasmania.

“Almost every industry saw a rise in payroll jobs across the fortnight to mid-October, with the largest rises seen in Accommodation and food services (up 5.6 per cent) and Arts and recreation services (up 4.8 per cent). These rises mainly reflected recovery in these industries in New South Wales, which accounted for 95.3 per cent and 92.6 per cent of the nationwide increases,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Between late June and early October, NSW had seen payroll jobs losses of more than 10 per cent in six of the nineteen industries. As restrictions eased, there was rapid recovery in payroll jobs, particularly in Construction and in Retail.”

a. Selected industries lost over 10% of payroll jobs between 19 June and 2 October.

Current COVID-related government support payments are paid directly to people or businesses, rather than through payrolls, which can affect the comparison of payroll job falls over the pandemic.

Payroll jobs only include jobs where a person was paid through the payroll in a pay period. Payroll job falls can include employees who remained attached to their job but were temporarily stood down and not paid by their employer.

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

Media notes

  • October Labour Force data will be released tomorrow, covering the two weeks from 26 September to 9 October.

  • Payroll jobs are not seasonally adjusted, which generally requires at least three years of data. The seasonal changes accounted for in the longstanding Labour Force statistics series should be considered when interpreting impacts and recovery in employment statistics 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. 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. Fortnightly releases coinciding with the start of month involve higher rates of imputation for payroll jobs with monthly pay frequencies. This can contribute to greater revisions in subsequent releases. Industries with higher proportions of monthly pay frequencies, such as Mining, are particularly affected.
  • While the ABS accounts for employees being paid with different frequencies, additional reporting activity may flow through to published estimates at some points of the year (such as the end of the financial year).
  • 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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