Payroll jobs rose 0.6% to mid-March

Media Release

Payroll jobs rose 0.6 per cent in the month to mid-March 2023, following a larger seasonal rise of 2.9 per cent over the month to mid-February, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “The pace of payroll jobs growth in early 2023 was similar to what we saw in early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The middle of March 2023 marks three years since the start of the pandemic and is the first March without impacts from pandemic-related business disruptions. Payroll jobs now sit 10.5 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.”

Mid-Nov represents the week ending 14 November 2020, 13 November 2021 and 12 November 2022.

Mid-Dec represents the week ending 12 December 2020, 11 December 2021 and 10 December 2022.

Mid-Jan represents the week ending 18 January 2020, 16 January 2021, 15 January 2022 and 14 January 2023.

Mid-Feb represents the week ending 15 February 2020, 13 February 2021, 12 February 2022 and 11 February 2023. 

Mid-Mar represents the week ending 14 March 2020, 13 March 2021, 12 March 2022 and 11 March 2023.

Mid-Apr represents the week ending 11 April 2020, 10 April 2021 and 9 April 2022.

Western Australia has strongest payroll jobs growth since start of the pandemic

Most states and territories saw a rise in payroll jobs in the month to mid-March 2023, with the largest in the Northern Territory (up 2.3 per cent) and South Australia (up 1.1 per cent).

“All jurisdictions have seen growth in payroll jobs since the start of the pandemic three years ago, ranging from an 8.9 per cent rise in New South Wales to 13.4 per cent in Western Australia,” Mr Jarvis said.

Mid-March represents the weeks ending 14 March 2020 and 11 March 2023. 

Payroll jobs below pre-pandemic levels in two industries

In the month to mid-March 2023, 10 out of 19 industries saw payroll job increases, with the largest in Education and training (up 5.8 per cent).

In mid-March 2023, two industries had fewer payroll jobs than at the start of the pandemic.

“Only the Manufacturing and Transport, postal and warehousing industries had less payroll jobs in March 2023 than they had before the start of the pandemic, at 0.3 per cent and 0.9 per cent lower.

“The largest rises in the three years to mid-March 2023 were in the Arts and recreation services and Mining industries, up by 19.3 and 18.8 per cent. The growth in the Arts and recreation services is notable, given that this industry saw some of the highest payroll job losses in the first months of the pandemic, falling by around 30 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said.

Mid-March represents the weeks ending 14 March 2020 and 11 March 2023. Industries ranked by percentage change between mid-March 2020 and 2023.

Media notes

  • Payroll jobs are not seasonally adjusted, which generally requires at least three years of reasonably stable 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. 
  • The ABS acknowledges the continued support of the ATO in enabling the ABS to produce weekly insights into the Australian labour market from Single Touch Payroll data.
  • 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).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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