Payroll jobs rise, remain lower than last January

Media Release

Payroll jobs rose 1.3 per cent nationally over the fortnight to 16 January 2021, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “All states and territories reported an increase in payroll jobs, ranging from 2.8 per cent in Queensland to 0.5 per cent in the Northern Territory.

"With the start of a second year of data we can see payroll jobs were 1.0 per cent lower in the week ending 16 January 2021 than they were in the week ending 18 January 2020.

“The challenge with new data is to be able to distinguish between changes in the economy and regular seasonal changes. Annual comparisons are a useful way of accounting for seasonality, until we have enough data to produce seasonally adjusted figures.”

The Accommodation and food services industry has remained one of the most heavily affected industries across the COVID-19 period. Payroll jobs in this industry in mid-January 2021 were 14.7 per cent lower than mid-March 2020 and 10.9 per cent lower than mid-January 2020.

Although payroll jobs worked by females were hardest hit early in the COVID period, their recovery across 2020 outpaced that of males. In early January 2021, payroll jobs worked by males remained 6.0 per cent lower than mid-March, compared to 5.2 per cent lower for females. By comparison, payroll jobs worked by males were slightly higher than females in mid-January 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 figures 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.
  • 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 industry subdivision, through to the week ending 16 January 2021, will be added to this release on Wednesday 3 February 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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