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Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia

Experimental weekly estimates on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on payroll jobs and wages, sourced from Single Touch Payroll data

Reference period
Week ending 3 October 2020
Released
20/10/2020
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    Next Release 21/10/2020
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    Next Release 22/10/2020
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Key statistics

Between the week ending 14 March and the week ending 3 October 2020 :

  • Payroll jobs decreased by 4.1%
  • Total wages decreased by 3.3%

High level analysis suggests that by 3 October 2020 there were approximately 440,000 fewer payroll jobs in STP-enabled businesses than on 14 March 2020.

Between the week ending 19 September and the week ending 3 October 2020:

  • Payroll jobs decreased by 0.9%, compared to an increase of 0.5% in the previous fortnight
  • Total wages paid decreased by 2.2%, compared to an increase of 1.3% in the previous fortnight

The next issue of Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia will be released on Wednesday 4 November.

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  1. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs and wages. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions. Weekly change data are available in the Data downloads.

Key COVID-19 dates

  • 22 March : Prime Minister announces Stage 2 lock down changes, which are progressively implemented
  • 30 March : Prime Minister announces JobKeeper program
  • 5 August : Stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria commence
  • 28 September : JobKeeper extension 1 (modified eligibility test) commences

State and territory

Since the week ending 14 March 2020 the largest changes across states and territories were:

  • Payroll jobs : Victoria decreased by 7.7% and Tasmania decreased by 4.5%
  • Total wages : Tasmania decreased by 4.9% and New South Wales decreased by 4.8%

Between the week ending 19 September and the week ending 3 October 2020 the largest changes across states and territories were:

  • Payroll jobs : the Northern Territory decreased by 1.2% and Tasmania decreased by 1.0%
  • Total wages : New South Wales decreased by 4.5% and Tasmania decreased by 2.3%
Table 1 - Percentage change by states and territories
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 OctoberChange between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 October
New South Wales-0.8%-3.6%-4.5%-4.8%
Victoria-0.9%-7.7%-1.4%-4.2%
Queensland-1.0%-2.5%-1.4%-0.9%
South Australia-0.7%-2.5%-1.1%0.0%
Western Australia-1.0%-1.0%0.4%-2.1%
Tasmania-1.0%-4.5%-2.3%-4.9%
Northern Territory-1.2%-2.1%-0.9%-1.4%
Australian Capital Territory-0.9%-4.3%-1.4%-2.5%
Australia-0.9%-4.1%-2.2%-3.3%
a. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs and wages. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions. Weekly change data are available in Data downloads.
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a. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions

Sub-state - payroll jobs

Estimates of payroll jobs by sub-state regions will be updated through to the week ending 3 October 2020 as part of this release on Wednesday 21 October 2020. 

Time series estimates of payroll jobs by sub-state regions up to the week ending 5 September 2020 (as updated on Wednesday 23 September 2020) are available in Table 5 of the Data Downloads. These estimates are presented as index values and are available for Statistical Area 4 (SA4) and Statistical Area 3 (SA3) regions.

SA4 regions are specifically designed to reflect labour markets within each state and territory within population limits. In regional areas, SA4s tend to have lower populations (100,000 to 300,000), while in metropolitan areas, SA4s tend to have larger populations (300,000 to 500,000).

SA3 regions generally have populations between 30,000 and 130,000 persons. They are often the functional areas of regional towns and cities with a population in excess of 20,000, or clusters of related suburbs around urban commercial and transport hubs within the major urban areas.

For more information see Statistical GeographyAustralian Statistical Geography Standard, Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016; or Australian Statistical Geography Standard, Volume 3 - Non-ABS Structures, July 2018.

Sex and age group

Sex

Since the week ending 14 March 2020:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by males decreased by 5.0% and those worked by females decreased by 4.2%
  • Total wages : Payments to males decreased by 5.6% and payments to females decreased by 0.4%

Between the week ending 19 September and the week ending 3 October 2020:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by males decreased by 1.1% and those worked by females decreased by 0.9%
  • Total wages : Payments to males and females decreased by 2.3% 
Table 2 - Percentage change by sex
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 OctoberChange between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 October
Males-1.1%-5.0%-2.3%-5.6%
Females-0.9%-4.2%-2.3%-0.4%
All persons-0.9%-4.1%-2.2%-3.3%
a. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs and wages. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions. Weekly change data are available in Data downloads.
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  1. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions. Weekly change data are available in the Data downloads section.

Age group

Since the week ending 14 March 2020 the largest changes across age groups were:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by people aged 70 and over decreased by 12.1% and those worked by people aged 60-69 decreased by 6.4%
  • Total wages : Payments to people aged under 20 increased by 29.6% and payments to people aged 70 and over decreased by 8.3%

Between the week ending 19 September and the week ending 3 October 2020 the largest changes across age groups were:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by people aged under 20 increased by 2.8% and those worked by people aged 70 and over decreased by 1.9%
  • Total wages : Payments to people aged 40-49 decreased by 3.2% and payments to people aged 70 and over decreased by 2.5%
Table 3 - Percentage change by age group
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 OctoberChange between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 October
Aged under 202.8%6.1%1.1%29.6%
20-29 year olds-0.8%-6.1%-1.2%0.7%
30-39 year olds-1.1%-3.6%-2.3%-2.6%
40-49 year olds-1.0%-2.7%-3.2%-4.5%
50-59 year olds-0.7%-2.8%-2.3%-4.9%
60-69 year olds-0.9%-6.4%-1.4%-7.2%
Aged 70 and over-1.9%-12.1%-2.5%-8.3%
All persons-0.9%-4.1%-2.2%-3.3%
a. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs and wages. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions. Weekly change data are available in Data downloads.

Industry

Since the week ending 14 March 2020 the largest changes across industry were:

  • Payroll jobs : Accommodation and food services decreased by 17.4% and Arts and recreation services decreased by 12.9%
  • Total wages : Accommodation and food services decreased by 13.0% and Wholesale trade decreased by 9.6%

Between the week ending 19 September and the week ending 3 October 2020 the largest changes across industry were:

  • Payroll jobs : Electricity, gas, water and waste services decreased by 3.7% and Agriculture, forestry and fishing decreased by 2.3%
  • Total wages : Financial and insurance services decreased by 22.8% and Information media and telecommunications decreased by 16.5%
Table 4 - Percentage change by industry
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 OctoberChange between 19 September and 3 October (a)Change between 14 March and 3 October
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-2.3%-8.1%-2.0%-3.5%
Mining (b)-0.4%-2.1%8.3%-6.4%
Manufacturing-0.2%-3.6%0.6%-6.2%
Electricity, gas, water and waste services-3.7%-2.1%-6.8%2.4%
Construction-1.7%-5.4%-1.2%-7.0%
Wholesale trade-0.8%-4.5%-0.1%-9.6%
Retail trade (c)-0.8%-4.1%0.0%-2.3%
Accommodation and food services0.4%-17.4%-2.5%-13.0%
Transport, postal and warehousing-1.0%-6.1%1.3%-4.6%
Information media and telecommunications-1.7%-9.5%-16.5%-5.6%
Financial and insurance services0.0%2.2%-22.8%-3.9%
Rental, hiring and real estate services-1.0%-6.3%-0.2%-0.3%
Professional, scientific and technical services-2.3%-4.7%-1.0%-5.1%
Administrative and support services-1.1%-5.1%-1.2%-2.7%
Public administration and safety-1.3%2.4%0.7%0.3%
Education and training0.8%-2.4%0.1%0.2%
Health care and social assistance-1.0%0.8%-0.4%3.1%
Arts and recreation services-1.2%-12.9%-0.9%-7.9%
Other services-1.9%-5.6%-1.9%1.6%
All industries-0.9%-4.1%-2.2%-3.3%
a. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs and wages. Weekly change data are available in Data downloads.
b. The Mining industry wages estimates in March and September may include seasonal bonuses. Please refer to the seasonality section in Data limitations and revisions.
c. A smoothing treatment has been applied to the Retail industry wages through September. Please refer to the reporting variability section in Data limitations and revisions.
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Industry sub-division - Payroll jobs

Time series estimates of Payroll jobs by industry sub-division (presented as index values) up to the week ending 19 September 2020 (as updated on 8 October 2020) are available in Table 6 of the Data downloads.

The sub-division level is the second broadest grouping of industries within the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification. Industry sub-divisions are built up from the industry groups which, in turn, are built up from industry classes.

Employment size

A datacube of Payroll jobs by employment size are available for the first time with this release. The time series estimates are presented as index values commencing week ending 4 January 2020 and can be accessed via Table 7 in the Data Downloads. 

The following experimental estimates present payroll jobs by employment size between the week ending 14 March 2020 and the week ending 3 October 2020. 

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a. Excludes a small number of businesses reporting in STP where employment size information was unable to be sourced from the ABS Business Register. 
b. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions.  

Please be advised that Table 5 has been updated and corrected.

Table 5 - Percentage change in Payroll jobs by state and territory, by employment size as at 14 March 2020 (a)
  Change between 19 September and 3 October (b)Change between 14 March and 3 October
Under 20 employees -2.6%-6.3%
 New South Wales-3.0%-6.6%
 Victoria-2.3%-11.0%
 Queensland-2.6%-3.6%
 South Australia-1.9%-2.5%
 Western Australia-2.5%-2.1%
 Tasmania-1.2%-5.6%
 Northern Territory-2.3%-1.6%
 Australian Capital Territory-3.4%-5.2%
20-199 employees -1.2%-6.9%
 New South Wales-1.4%-6.5%
 Victoria-1.1%-12.0%
 Queensland-1.1%-3.9%
 South Australia-0.9%-4.4%
 Western Australia-1.3%-2.8%
 Tasmania-0.8%-6.5%
 Northern Territory-1.4%-3.8%
 Australian Capital Territory-0.6%-6.5%
200 employees and over 0.1%-1.6%
 New South Wales0.6%-0.7%
 Victoria0.0%-3.9%
 Queensland-0.1%-1.3%
 South Australia0.2%-1.3%
 Western Australia-0.2%0.3%
 Tasmania-1.0%-2.7%
 Northern Territory-0.4%-1.3%
 Australian Capital Territory0.0%-3.3%
a. Excludes a small number of businesses reporting in STP where employment size information was unable to be sourced from the ABS Business Register.
b. Care should be exercised when focusing on the most recent movements in payroll jobs. For more information, please see Data limitations and revisions

Employment size source

Employment size variables were determined from ABS Business Register data. The ABS Business Register is populated using administrative data from the Australian Business Register (ABR) and business data from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Data on the structures of large and complex businesses are also collected by ABS. The ABS Business Register is updated regularly and a frame of business, containing business characteristic information, is produced quarterly for use in the production of statistics.

The March 2020 quarterly frame was used to determine employment size for businesses reporting their payroll via STP and subsequently allocate their reported payroll jobs against. Once a payroll job is allocated to an employment size category, it is held constant against that category over time. By using the March 2020 quarter frame and holding employment size categorisation constant, the ABS is able to present information about the change in payroll jobs based on the employment size of businesses before Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 case on 14 March 2020.

Businesses which are newly created after March 2020 are unable to be assigned a size and are subsequently excluded from the index calculation of employment size groups. These 'new' businesses are included in the calculation of all sizes category (for state and territory, and national level estimates). The number of STP reporting businesses 'born' since Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 in March 2020 is considered small, hence their exclusion is expected to have minimal impact on the estimates. The ABS exploring how to incorporate newly created businesses into the employment size estimates and may include them in a future release.

Data downloads

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Table 1: National spotlight

Table 2: State and territory spotlight

Table 3: Industry spotlight

Table 4: Payroll jobs and wages indexes

Table 5: Substate - Payroll jobs indexes

Estimates of payroll jobs by Statistical Area 4 (SA4) and Statistical Area 3 (SA3) to the week ending 5 September 2020 as updated on Wednesday 23 September 2020. 

Table 6: Industry subdivision - Payroll jobs index

Estimates of payroll jobs by industry subdivision to the week ending 19 September 2020 as updated on Thursday 8 October 2020. 

Table 7: Employment size - Payroll jobs index

This datacube of Payroll jobs by employment size are available for the first time with this release. The time series estimates are presented as index values commencing week ending 4 January 2020 through to week ending 3 October 2020. 

All data cubes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6160.0.55.001.

History of changes

20 October 2020: Table 5 data was updated and corrected.