Seasonal fall in payroll jobs into April

Media Release

Payroll jobs fell by 1.8 per cent in the fortnight to 10 April 2021, compared with an increase of 0.2 per cent in the previous fortnight, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The latest fortnight included the Easter holiday period which regularly sees a seasonal fall in a range of labour market indicators, especially hours worked. These seasonal factors make it difficult to gauge any effect of the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy on 28 March. The next fortnight of data (available on 11 May) should provide a better sense of the state of the labour market after JobKeeper.”

Comparisons with the same fortnight a year ago are also difficult, as nationwide pandemic restrictions were in place.

Payroll jobs fell across all age groups in the fortnight to 10 April 2021, ranging from a 2.9 per cent fall in jobs held by 15 to 19 year-olds to a 0.6 per cent fall for 60 to 69 year-olds.

Mr Jarvis said, “The latest fortnight of data saw a fall in payroll jobs in almost every industry.”

“The two most impacted industries during the COVID period (Accommodation and food services and Arts and recreation services) saw payroll job declines of 4.0 per cent and 4.4 per cent over the fortnight.”

“Payroll jobs recovery remains weakest in the Accommodation and food services industry, at 11.2 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.”

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.
  • Labour Force data for April shows a large fall in hours worked whenever Easter falls similarly early in the month, as in 2015 when hours worked fell by 17 per cent between March and April. The next release of Labour Force (Thursday 20 May) will include seasonally adjusted data for April 2021.

  • 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 10 April 2021, are included in the Data downloads section of this release. 
  • 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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