Seasonal rise in payroll jobs into February

Media Release

Payroll jobs rose 2.6 per cent in the month to 11 February 2023 and were 3.1 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “The rise in payroll jobs to mid-February 2023 is a seasonal pattern seen before, as summer school holidays end and businesses return from their year-end holidays through January.

“This growth in payroll jobs in 2023 was also broadly consistent with the same period in 2020, before the start of the pandemic. It was below what we saw in early 2021 and 2022, but at that point payroll jobs were still recovering from impacts from the first and second years of the pandemic.”

Month change is the four week period preceding the weeks ending 15 February 2020, 13 February 2021, 12 February 2022 and 11 February 2023. 

Annual growth in payroll jobs consistent at around 3 per cent

Mr Jarvis said that, now that the ABS had four years of Single Touch Payroll data, it is interesting to note the relatively consistent growth seen by mid-February.

“Although each year has brought different experiences and impacts from the pandemic, the year-on-year growth in payroll jobs has generally been similar, at slightly above 3 per cent each year.”

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 and 12 March 2022.

Largely seasonal rise in every state and territory

Payroll jobs rose in all states and territories in the month to mid-February 2023, with the largest increases in the Northern Territory (3.9 per cent) and Victoria (2.8 per cent).

“Increases in payroll jobs in New South Wales and Victoria accounted for 59.3 per cent of the national increase in this period. This was slightly more than their share of total payroll jobs, which is usually around 57.1 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said.

Top seasonal rises in Education and training and Construction industries

Nationally, payroll jobs rose in 17 out of 19 industries in the month to mid-February 2023.

The Education and training industry accounted for almost a third (30.9 per cent) of the total rise in payroll jobs in this period (up 10.3 per cent) as students returned to studies across the country. Their share of payroll job rises at this time of year was more than three times greater than their usual share of payroll jobs (8.6 per cent).

As in previous years, there was a strong seasonal fall in payroll jobs in the Construction industry at the end of 2022 which was followed by a strong rise (6.0 per cent) in the month to mid-February.  This accounted for 14.8 percent of the total rise in payroll jobs and was more than double their usual share of total payroll jobs (6.7 per cent).

The share of payroll jobs increases across other industries was similar to 2022, except for Accommodation and food services. That industry accounted for a much larger share in early 2022, as it recovered from earlier pandemic impacts and restrictions eased.

Industries grouped into 'remaining industries' differ in 2022 and 2023. 

Media notes

  • This release follows a two month pause, while the ABS and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) implemented improvements to the underlying processes for these statistics.
  • 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).
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