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Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia

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

Reference period
Week ending 30 January 2021
Released
16/02/2021

Key statistics

Payroll jobs increased by 1.3% between the weeks ending 16 and 30 January 2021. Largest changes: 

  • Tasmania (up 2.2%)
  • Administrative and support services (up 2.7%)

Total wages increased by 0.4%. Largest changes:

  • the Australian Capital Territory (up 1.8%)
  • Information media and telecommunications (up 4.7%)

Imputation method updated

The imputation method has been updated in this release and applied across all historical data, resulting in revisions across the time series. All indexes (including component indexes) are affected by the updated method. The ABS recommends that analyses of previously published estimates be refreshed with the data from this release. For more information, see the Imputation update subsection of Methods review.

National

Between the week ending 14 March 2020 and the week ending 30 January 2021:

  • Payroll jobs decreased by 1.9%
  • Total wages decreased by 3.4%

Between the week ending 16 January 2021 and the week ending 30 January 2021:

  • Payroll jobs increased by 1.3%, compared to an increase of 4.1% in the previous fortnight
  • Total wages paid increased by 0.4%, compared to an increase of 3.8% in the previous fortnight
  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.

State and territory

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

  • Payroll jobs : Victoria decreased by 3.7% and the Australian Capital Territory decreased by 2.3%
  • Total wages : New South Wales decreased by 4.6% and Western Australia decreased by 4.3%

Between the week ending 16 January 2021 and 30 January 2021 the largest changes across states and territories were:

  • Payroll jobs : Tasmania increased by 2.2% and the Northern Territory increased by 2.0%
  • Total wages : the Australian Capital Territory increased by 1.8%, Queensland increased by 1.1% and the Northern Territory decreased by 1.1%
Table 1 - Percentage change by states and territories
 Payroll jobs Total wages 
 Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021
New South Wales1.2%-2.0%0.1%-4.6%
Victoria1.0%-3.7%0.4%-2.7%
Queensland1.8%-1.7%1.1%-2.6%
South Australia1.8%0.4%0.7%-1.2%
Western Australia0.6%0.6%-0.3%-4.3%
Tasmania2.2%-1.6%0.9%-2.2%
Northern Territory2.0%0.8%-1.1%1.6%
Australian Capital Territory1.4%-2.3%1.8%-1.0%
Australia1.3%-1.9%0.4%-3.4%

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.
 

Sub-state - payroll jobs

Updated estimates of payroll jobs by sub-state regions, were added to this release on 17 February 2021.

Time series estimates of payroll jobs by sub-state regions, Statistical Area 4 (SA4) and Statistical Area 3 (SA3), are presented as index values through to the week ending 30 January 2021 in Table 5 of the Data downloads. 

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.

SA4 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

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.

Interactive maps

The interactive maps were updated to the week ending 30 January 2021, as part of this release on 19 February 2021. 

Maps of SA4 and SA3 regions are updated on alternate fortnights to coincide with the release of sub-state estimates. Change in payroll jobs from the week ending 14 March 2020 for each week up to the week ending 30 January 2021 are presented in the Interactive maps.

SA4 and SA3 boundaries presented accord with the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016.

How to use the interactive map:

  • Select: Geographical area can be selected using the Statistical Area 3 (SA3) or Statistical Area 4 (SA4) upper tabs.
  • Search: the magnifying glass icon opens the search function. It is set to look for locations such as addresses, suburbs and postcodes contained within an SA4 or SA3 region.
  • Reference week: the date slider at the bottom of the map can be moved to select a particular week of interest, or see changes over time.
  • Data: on the relevant map, an SA4 or SA3 can be selected to view the underlying data. The time series index estimates for SA4 and SA3s can be found in Table 5 of the Data downloads.
  • If the maps do not load successfully, please try refreshing the page.

Sex

Since the week ending 14 March 2020:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by males decreased by 3.8% and those worked by females decreased by 3.0%
  • Total wages : Payments to males decreased by 5.9% and payments to females decreased by 1.1%

Between the week ending 16 January 2021 and the week ending 30 January 2021:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by males increased by 1.2% and those worked by females increased by 1.1%
  • Total wages : Payments to females increased by 0.7% and payments to males increased by 0.1%
Table 2 - Percentage change by sex
 Payroll jobs Total wages 
 Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021
Males1.2%-3.8%0.1%-5.9%
Females1.1%-3.0%0.7%-1.1%
All persons1.3%-1.9%0.4%-3.4%

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 the Data downloads.
 

  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 20-29 decreased by 3.3%, those worked by people aged 40-49 decreased by 1.4% and those worked by people aged 60-69 increased by 1.4%
  • Total wages : Payments to people aged 15-19 increased by 10.1% and payments to people aged 40-49 decreased by 5.4%

Between the week ending 16 January 2021 and the week ending 30 January 2021 the largest changes across age groups were:

  • Payroll jobs : Those worked by people aged 15-19 increased by 5.3% and those worked by people aged 20-29 increased by 1.3%
  • Total wages : Payments to people aged 15-19 increased by 4.9% and payments to people aged 20-29 increased by 1.2%
Table 3 - Percentage change by age group
 Payroll jobs Total wages 
 Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021
15-19 year olds5.3%0.2%4.9%10.1%
20-29 year olds1.3%-3.3%1.2%-1.5%
30-39 year olds0.9%-1.2%0.1%-3.2%
40-49 year olds1.1%-1.4%0.3%-5.4%
50-59 year olds1.1%-0.4%0.3%-3.6%
60-69 year olds1.0%1.4%-0.3%0.7%
Aged 70 years and over0.9%-0.7%-0.9%3.3%
All persons1.3%-1.9%0.4%-3.4%

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 : Education and training decreased by 12.0% and Accommodation and food services decreased by 11.5%
  • Total wages : Mining decreased by 21.0% and Transport, postal and warehousing decreased by 10.2%

Between the week ending 16 January 2021 and the week ending 30 January 2021 the largest changes across industry were:

  • Payroll jobs : Administrative and support services increased by 2.7% and Accommodation and food services and Education and training both increased by 2.6%
  • Total wages : Information media and telecommunications increased by 4.7% and Accommodation and food services increased by 3.0%
Table 4 - Percentage change by industry
 Payroll jobs Total wages 
 Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021Change between 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021 (a)Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.2%-4.0%-2.6%-2.1%
Mining (b)1.4%-1.4%1.0%-21.0%
Manufacturing1.8%-3.6%0.7%-7.7%
Electricity, gas, water and waste services1.0%1.7%1.7%0.9%
Construction2.2%-5.4%-0.2%-7.8%
Wholesale trade0.4%-2.6%0.5%-9.7%
Retail trade1.1%0.7%-0.4%0.7%
Accommodation and food services2.6%-11.5%3.0%-8.0%
Transport, postal and warehousing1.6%-6.3%0.1%-10.2%
Information media and telecommunications2.1%-10.6%4.7%-6.9%
Financial and insurance services0.5%5.0%0.0%-5.9%
Rental, hiring and real estate services1.2%-2.9%-1.0%-2.2%
Professional, scientific and technical services-0.2%-2.6%-0.7%-3.5%
Administrative and support services2.7%-2.6%0.4%-3.5%
Public administration and safety2.4%2.5%1.8%1.1%
Education and training (c)2.6%-12.0%1.4%-5.6%
Health care and social assistance-0.2%2.1%-0.2%4.5%
Arts and recreation services1.1%-5.5%1.2%-2.7%
Other services0.4%-4.7%-0.9%0.1%
All industries1.3%-1.9%0.4%-3.4%

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 annual bonuses. Please refer to the seasonality section in Data limitations and revisions for further information.
c. The Education and training industry has a marked seasonal low across December and January. Please refer to the seasonality section in Data limitations and revisions for further information.

Industry subdivision - Payroll jobs

Time series estimates of payroll jobs by industry subdivision (presented as index values) up to the week ending 16 January 2021 are available in Table 6 of the Data downloads.

The subdivision level is the second broadest grouping of industries within the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification. Industry subdivisions 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 30 January 2021. 

Care should be exercised when focusing on recent movements in payroll jobs by employment size, as they are subject to higher than usual levels of revision (over a longer period) than other estimates. As part of the updating of additional data sources, the ABS is investigating underlying data to identify the cause and establish a method to reduce the future level of revisions in this series.

  1. Care should be exercised when focusing on recent movements in payroll jobs. For more information, see the Reporting variability section in 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 16 Jan 2021 and 30 Jan 2021Change between 14 Mar 2020 and 30 Jan 2021
Under 20 employees 0.6%-3.9%
 New South Wales0.5%-5.6%
 Victoria0.1%-5.7%
 Queensland1.5%-1.9%
 South Australia0.9%-0.5%
 Western Australia-0.5%-0.2%
 Tasmania1.5%-1.9%
 Northern Territory1.8%-1.8%
 Australian Capital Territory0.3%-4.0%
20-199 employees 1.4%-4.4%
 New South Wales1.5%-4.5%
 Victoria0.9%-7.0%
 Queensland2.4%-2.6%
 South Australia2.3%-2.7%
 Western Australia-0.3%-1.8%
 Tasmania1.3%-6.4%
 Northern Territory1.7%-2.7%
 Australian Capital Territory2.3%-5.1%
200 employees and over 1.5%-1.8%
 New South Wales1.4%-1.1%
 Victoria1.5%-2.7%
 Queensland1.7%-3.6%
 South Australia2.1%0.3%
 Western Australia1.5%0.1%
 Tasmania3.3%-1.0%
 Northern Territory2.2%2.3%
 Australian Capital Territory1.5%-2.1%

a. 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

Table 1: National spotlight

Table 2: State and territory spotlight

Table 3: Industry spotlight

Table 4: Payroll jobs and wages indexes

Table 5: Sub-state - Payroll jobs indexes

Estimates of payroll jobs by Statistical Area 4 (SA4) and Statistical Area 3 (SA3) to the week ending 30 January 2021, as updated on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

Table 6: Industry subdivision - Payroll jobs index

Estimates of payroll jobs by industry subdivision to the week ending 16 January 2021, as updated on Wednesday 3 February 2021.

Table 7: Employment size - Payroll jobs index

All data cubes

Updated to include Table 5 as released on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6160.0.55.001.

Changes in this release

The imputation method has been updated and applied across all historical data, resulting in revisions across the time series. All indexes (including component indexes) are affected by the updated method. 

The year-end variability section (as updated in the 2 February 2021 release) is now located in the article: Year-end data variability.

The following sections of the Methodology have been updated in this release:

  • How data are processed: Accruing end of year financial payments (moved from Data limitations and revisions)
  • Methods review (new section moved from Data limitations and revisions)
  • Data limitations and revisions: collapsible sections added.

Post-release changes

19 February 2021: Interactive maps updated to the week ending 30 January 2021.

17 February 2021:  Sub-state - Payroll jobs indexes (Table 5 of the Data downloads) were updated to the week ending 30 January 2021.