The COVID-19 period has seen rapid and large-scale change in the composition of the labour market. These changes in the make-up and structure of the labour market need to be considered when analysing the earnings data and the growth observed since August 2019.
Losses in jobs and employment during 2020 were not evenly distributed across the labour market, with most losses observed in casual work, younger age groups and industries with typically lower earnings. Those that remained employed had typically higher earnings or were provided the JobKeeper payment, which has partly contributed to the rise in earnings.
Changes to hours worked and the number of hours paid for have also contributed to changes in the employee earnings data, particularly the derived measure of hourly earnings. In some cases, a reduction in the number of hours paid for has resulted in an increase hourly earnings.
Refer to Spotlight - increases in average weekly earnings - compositional changes during the COVID-19 period for more information.
Other labour statistics can provide important insights into these compositional changes, to support the informed use of employee earnings measures during this period. These include: