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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 19 September 2020
Released
7/10/2020

Key statistics

Between the week ending 14 March 2020 (the week Australia recorded its 100th confirmed case of COVID-19) and the week ending 19 September 2020:

  • Payroll jobs decreased by 4.1%
  • Total wages decreased by 2.9%

High level analysis suggests that there were approximately 440,000 fewer payroll jobs in STP-enabled businesses on 19 September 2020 than on 14 March 2020.

Between the week ending 5 September and the week ending 19 September 2020:

  • Payroll jobs increased by 0.3%, compared to a decrease of 0.5% in the previous fortnight
  • Total wages increased by 0.8%, compared to an increase of 1.2% in the previous fortnight
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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

State and territory

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

  • Payroll jobs : Victoria decreased by 8.0% and the Australian Capital Territory decreased by 4.6%
  • Total wages : Victoria decreased by 4.6% and Tasmania decreased by 3.6%

Between the week ending 5 September and the week ending 19 September 2020 the largest changes across states and territories were:

  • Payroll jobs : South Australia increased by 0.7% and Queensland increased by 0.5%
  • Total wages : South Australia increased by 1.5% and New South Wales increased by 1.2%
Table 1 - Percentage change by states and territories
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 SeptemberChange between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 September
New South Wales0.3%-3.3%1.2%-3.4%
Victoria0.4%-8.0%0.7%-4.6%
Queensland0.5%-2.5%0.2%-1.7%
South Australia0.7%-2.1%1.5%0.8%
Western Australia-0.2%-1.2%0.4%-1.3%
Tasmania0.3%-4.4%1.1%-3.6%
Northern Territory-0.2%-1.7%0.1%-0.5%
Australian Capital Territory-0.5%-4.6%0.4%-1.9%
Australia0.3%-4.1%0.8%-2.9%
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 - Statistical Area 4 (SA4) and Statistical Area 3 (SA3) will be next updated through to the week ending 3 October 2020 as part of the release on Wednesday 21 October 2020. Sub-state estimates up to the week ending 5 September 2020 (as updated on 23 September 2020) are available in Table 5 of the Data downloads.

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 the changes were:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by males decreased by 4.8% and those worked by females decreased by 4.1%
  • Total wages : Payments to males decreased by 5.2% and payments to females increased by 0.2%

Between the week ending 5 September and the week ending 19 September 2020:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by females decreased by 0.2% and those worked by males increased by 0.1%
  • Total wages : Payments to females increased by 1.2% and payments to males decreased by 0.4%
Table 2 - Percentage change by sex
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 SeptemberChange between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 September
Males0.1%-4.8%0.4%-5.2%
Females0.2%-4.1%1.2%0.2%
All persons0.3%-4.1%0.8%-2.9%
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 11.3% and those worked by people aged 20-29 decreased by 6.3%
  • Total wages : Payments to people aged under 20 increased by 27.1% and payments to people aged 70 and over decreased by 7.2%

Between the week ending 5 September and the week ending 19 September 2020 the largest changes across age groups were:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by people aged under 20 increased by 8.2% and those worked by people aged 70 and over decreased by 0.3%
  • Total wages : Payments to people aged under 20 increased by 3.2% and payments to people aged 40-49 increased by 1.1%
Table 3 - Percentage change by age group
 Payroll jobsTotal wages
 Change between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 SeptemberChange between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 September
Aged under 208.2%4.7%3.2%27.1%
20-29 year olds0.2%-6.3%0.6%1.1%
30-39 year olds0.0%-3.4%1.0%-1.9%
40-49 year olds0.2%-2.4%1.1%-3.8%
50-59 year olds0.2%-2.7%0.9%-4.5%
60-69 year olds0.1%-6.1%0.5%-6.8%
Aged 70 years and over-0.3%-11.3%-0.5%-7.2%
All persons0.3%-4.1%0.8%-2.9%
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 17.2% and Arts and recreation services decreased by 12.7%
  • Total wages : Accommodation and food services decreased by 12.3% and Transport, postal and warehousing decreased by 10.9%

Between the week ending 5 September and the week ending 19 September 2020 the largest changes across industry were:

  • Payroll jobs : Accommodation and food services increased by 5.5% and Education and training increased by 2.3%
  • Total wages : Financial and insurance services increased by 10.1% and Education and training increased by 2.8%
Table 4 - Percentage change by industry
 Payroll jobs Total wages 
 Change between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 SeptemberChange between 5 September and 19 September (a)Change between 14 March and 19 September
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-1.7%-9.1%-1.2%-4.7%
Mining-0.7%-2.7%2.0%-4.4%
Manufacturing1.0%-3.5%0.7%-7.4%
Electricity, gas, water and waste services0.6%2.4%0.3%7.4%
Construction-1.0%-5.5%-1.6%-7.9%
Wholesale trade0.5%-3.7%-0.1%-9.7%
Retail trade-0.4%-4.5%0.0%-2.4%
Accommodation and food services5.5%-17.2%0.9%-12.3%
Transport, postal and warehousing0.0%-8.8%1.2%-10.9%
Information media and telecommunications-1.7%-9.8%0.0%8.2%
Financial and insurance services1.3%2.3%10.1%4.9%
Rental, hiring and real estate services0.1%-6.4%0.6%0.4%
Professional, scientific and technical services-0.6%-3.9%-0.6%-5.5%
Administrative and support services-0.2%-5.5%-1.7%-3.6%
Public administration and safety0.3%2.7%0.5%-0.4%
Education and training2.3%-2.0%2.8%1.5%
Health care and social assistance (b)-0.8%0.8%-0.2%2.3%
Arts and recreation services1.1%-12.7%0.4%-5.7%
Other services-0.8%-5.8%0.5%2.2%
All industries0.3%-4.1%0.8%-2.9%
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 may include annual bonuses. Please refer to the seasonality section in Data limitations and revisions for further information.  
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Industry sub-division - Payroll jobs

Updated estimates of payroll jobs by industry sub-division through to the week ending 19 September 2020, were added to this release on Thursday 8 October 2020. Time series estimates (presented as index values) 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

The following experimental estimates present payroll jobs by employment size between the week ending 14 March 2020 and the week ending 19 September 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.  

Table 5 - Percentage change in Payroll jobs by state and territory, by employment size as at 14 March 2020 (a)
  Change between 5 September and 19 September (b)Change between 14 March and 19 September
Under 20 employees-2.4%-7.3%
 New South Wales-2.8%-7.6%
 Victoria-2.6%-12.5%
 Queensland-2.0%-3.8%
 South Australia-1.9%-3.1%
 Western Australia-2.2%-3.1%
 Tasmania-0.9%-6.2%
 Northern Territory-1.9%-2.0%
 Australian Capital Territory-3.0%-6.4%
20-199 employees0.2%-6.6%
 New South Wales0.0%-5.4%
 Victoria0.8%-11.8%
 Queensland0.5%-3.9%
 South Australia0.7%-3.6%
 Western Australia-0.9%-3.2%
 Tasmania-0.8%-7.3%
 Northern Territory0.1%-3.3%
 Australian Capital Territory-0.8%-7.6%
200 employees and over1.7%-1.3%
 New South Wales2.0%-0.2%
 Victoria1.8%-3.8%
 Queensland1.7%-1.2%
 South Australia2.2%-0.6%
 Western Australia1.0%0.6%
 Tasmania1.7%-1.6%
 Northern Territory0.3%-0.7%
 Australian Capital Territory0.5%-3.0%
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.

Secondary jobs

The ABS estimates that the number of payroll jobs in the week ending 19 September was 4.1% lower than the week ending 14 March 2020. By the week ending 19 September, payroll jobs considered as main jobs and secondary jobs remain 2.9% and 23.0% lower than mid-March levels. While not all jobs in the Australian labour market are captured within STP data, these data provide insight into the potential job retention dynamics of JobKeeper. JobKeeper only covers a single job for an eligible employee, supporting main jobs to a greater extent than secondary jobs. A more comprehensive (but less contemporary) analysis of multiple job holders in the Australian labour market can be found in Jobs in Australia.  

Total payroll jobs reached their lowest point in Australia in the week ending 18 April 2020 (down 8.5%). Analysis of STP data confirms that this was also the case for main and secondary jobs (down 7.0% and 33.4% respectively from the week ending 14 March). However, while over half (57.9%) of main job losses to mid-April were recovered by 19 September, only around one third (or 31.3%) of secondary jobs losses were recovered over the same period.

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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

Table 6 - Main and secondary jobs as a proportion of total payroll jobs
 Week ending 14 March (a)Week ending 19 September
Main jobs94.1%95.3%
Secondary jobs5.9%4.7%
Total payroll jobs100.0%100.0%
a. These proportions reflect updates to underlying time series data since the previous release of multiple job holdings information.

Relationship with other labour statistics

The number of payroll jobs is not the same as the number of employed people in Labour Force statistics for a range of reasons, one of which is multiple job holding. Each payroll job is counted separately in Single Touch Payroll data. Analysis of secondary job holdings as observed through STP data provide important insights into how these data may relate to person based measures in Labour Force statistics.

Prior to the COVID-19 period, the Australian Labour Account showed that around 6% of employed people worked multiple jobs at the same time. As of the June quarter 2020, the Labour Account showed that 94.2% of jobs in the labour market were ‘main jobs’ and 5.8% of jobs were ‘secondary jobs’ (i.e. other jobs worked concurrently by multiple job holders). 

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 indexes 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 indexes by industry subdivision to the week ending 19 September 2020 were added on Thursday 8 October 2020. 

All data cubes

Updated to include Table 6 as released on Thursday 8 October 2020. 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6160.0.55.001.

History of changes

8 October 2020: Updated estimates of payroll jobs indexes by industry sub-division added to Data downloads Table 6.