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Labour Account Australia

The Australian Labour Account provides quarterly and annual time series data, consisting of four quadrants: Jobs, Persons, Hours and Payments

Reference period
December 2020
Released
10/03/2021

Key statistics

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020:

  • Total jobs increased by 455,000 (3.2%).
  • The number of people working multiple jobs increased by 8.6%.
  • Secondary jobs increased by 77,900 (8.3%).
  • Hours worked increased by 3.6%.
  • Employed persons increased by 1.8% to 13.2 million.

 

 Seasonally Adjusted
Sep qtr 2020 to Dec qtr 2020
% change

Dec qtr 2019 to Dec qtr 2020
% change

Total Jobs 3.2-1.7
Filled Jobs2.9-2.0
Main Jobs2.5-2.3
Secondary Jobs8.33.1
Job Vacancies24.812.7
Hours Actually Worked3.6-3.2
Average Hours Actually Worked Per Job0.6-1.2
Average Income Per Employed Person-1.55.6

Data impacts and changes

Revisions and changes

Data in the four quadrants of the Labour Account, have been revised from the previously published estimates.

Revisions may be attributable to a range of factors, including:

  • Revisions to quarterly source data, including:

                              i.   revisions to data from the Labour Force Survey,

                              ii.   revisions to Overseas Arrivals and Departures data, and

                             iii.   revisions to data from the quarterly Australian National Accounts.

Revisions to published estimates are available in Table 22. Quarterly revisions data cube in the Data downloads section.

  • Commencing in the June quarter 2020, the seasonal adjustment method for the majority of series in the Labour account changed from concurrent seasonal adjustment to the forward factors method. The "Other related costs to employers" series continues to use the concurrent seasonal adjustment method. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, trend estimates for all series in the Labour Account have been temporarily suspended.

Jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020:

  • Filled jobs increased by 2.9%, following a 1.9% rise in the September quarter 2020. Filled jobs fell 2.0% through the year.
  • The number of main jobs increased by 325,700 (or 2.5%).
  • The number of multiple job holders increased by 8.6%.
  • The proportion of vacant jobs increased to 1.8%, following the recent low of 1.0% in the June quarter 2020.
  • The number of public sector jobs increased by 2.4%, while the number of private sector jobs increased by 2.7%.

Total jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020 the total number of jobs increased by 455,000 (or 3.2%), made up of an increase of 51,300 job vacancies and an increase of 403,700 filled jobs.

Filled jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020 the number of filled jobs increased by 403,700 to 14.2 million. 

Filled jobs, proportion by industry, Dec qtr 2020, seasonally adjusted

 Filled Jobs
Dec qtr 2020
('000)
Proportion of Total All Industries
Dec qtr 2020
(%)
Agriculture, forestry and fishing (A)473.43.3
Mining (B)182.21.3
Manufacturing (C)911.56.4
Electricity, gas, water and waste services (D)124.00.9
Construction (E)1,164.08.2
Wholesale trade (F)592.14.2
Retail trade (G)1,418.310.0
Accommodation and food services (H)1,032.67.3
Transport, postal and warehousing (I)620.54.4
Information media and telecommunications (J)176.81.2
Financial and insurance services (K)476.63.3
Rental, hiring and real estate services (L)274.11.9
Professional, scientific and technical services (M)1,265.58.9
Administrative and support services (N)957.26.7
Public administration and safety (O)774.75.4
Education and training (P)1,032.97.3
Health care and social assistance (Q)2,051.114.4
Arts and recreation services (R)199.71.4
Other services (S)515.13.6
Total All Industries14,242.2100.0

 

Filled jobs, percentage change by industry, Dec qtr 2020, seasonally adjusted

 Sep qtr 2020 to Dec qtr 2020
% change
Dec qtr 2019 to Dec qtr 2020
% change
Agriculture, forestry and fishing (A)-0.71.6
Mining (B)1.5-2.4
Manufacturing (C)2.6-1.1
Electricity, gas water and waste services (D)2.7-1.6
Construction (E)0.4-3.2
Wholesale trade (F)2.30.4
Retail trade (G)1.52.6
Accommodation and food services (H)3.3-11.6
Transport, postal and warehousing (I)4.9-6.1
Information media and telecommunications (J)0.3-3.8
Financial and insurance services (K)1.23.1
Rental, hiring and real estate services (L)-3.2-8.1
Professional, scientific and technical services (M)4.4-2.9
Administrative and support services (N)3.4-3.0
Public administration and safety (O)1.81.0
Education and training (P)2.9-5.5
Health care and social assistance (Q)6.26.8
Arts and recreation services (R)3.8-15.7
Other services (S)5.6-9.9
Total All Industries2.9-2.0

 

Secondary jobs

Secondary jobs are where a person is working more than one job at the same time, and may consist of one or more additional jobs. These jobs can be held by persons who have their main job in the same or a different industry. 

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020:

  • Secondary jobs increased by 77,900 (or 8.3%). 
  • The proportion of secondary jobs to filled jobs was 7.2% compared to 6.8% in the previous quarter.

The three industries with the highest number of secondary jobs were Administrative and support services, Health care and social assistance and Education and training.
 

Statistical discrepancy - Filled jobs

The Labour Account compiles independent estimates of the number of filled jobs from both a household and business perspective. The difference between these two estimates is referred to as the "statistical discrepancy". This discrepancy is reduced to zero through the balancing processes of the Labour Account, through producing a single harmonised or "balanced" number of filled jobs for each industry and the total economy.

In original terms the discrepancy between household sources and business sources was 309,000 jobs, or 2.2% of the household estimate, in the December quarter 2020.

Balancing decisions for Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Mining; Manufacturing; Electricity, gas, water and waste services; Construction; Wholesale trade; Retail trade; Accommodation and food services; Transport, postal and warehousing; Information media and telecommunications; Financial and insurance services; Professional, scientific and technical services; Administrative and support services; Public administration and safety; Education and training; Health care and social assistance; Arts and recreation services were mostly business survey sources. Balancing decisions for Rental, hiring and real estate services and Other services were mostly household survey sources.

Persons

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020:

  • The total number of employed persons increased by 1.8% to 13.2 million. 
  • There were 915,600 unemployed persons, a decrease of 35,800 persons from September quarter 2020.
  • There were 1,287,200 underemployed persons, a decrease of 216,100 persons from September quarter 2020.

The Australian Labour Account produces the number of people employed from an industry perspective. As a result, the sum of employed persons in the Australian Labour Account across industry divisions does not equal the total number of people employed in the whole economy, given some people are employed in multiple industries.

The three industries with the highest number of employed persons in the December quarter 2020 were Health care and social assistance, Retail trade and Professional, scientific and technical services.

Hours

Hours actually worked is the time spent in a job for the performance of activities that contribute to the production of goods and services during a specified short or long reference period. 

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020 the total number of hours actually worked increased by 181.6 million hours (or 3.6%) to 5.3 billion hours.

The three industries with the highest number of hours actually worked in the December quarter 2020 were Health care and social assistance, Professional, scientific and technical services and Construction.

Average hours worked per job is the hours actually worked divided by all filled jobs.

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020 average hours worked per job increased by 0.6% to 369 hours. 

Payments

The Labour Account Payments quadrant presents the costs incurred by enterprises in employing labour, and the incomes received by people from its provision. Total income consists of compensation of employees and labour income from self-employment. The addition of other related costs to employers to total income will derive total labour costs.

In seasonally adjusted terms for the December quarter 2020:

  • Total labour income increased by $821 million (or 0.3%) to $269,915 million. 
  • The average labour income per employed person decreased by 1.5% to $20,508.
  • Total compensation of employees increased by 1.5% to $243,974 million.
  • Labour income from self-employment decreased by 9.3% to $25,942 million.
  • Total labour costs increased by $22,067 million (8.7%) to $276,032 million. 


The three industries with the highest total labour income in the December quarter 2020 were Health care and social assistance, Professional, scientific and technical services and Education and training.

Assessing the impact of COVID-19 and data limitations on the Labour Account

The Labour Account is made up of a variety of data sources that comprise the Labour Account Framework. The decision about each data source was made based on the quality and accuracy of the data when the Labour Account Framework was first established in 2017, and minimal change to the use of data sources has been required over recent years.

The extent of change in the labour market during the COVID-19 period has highlighted some inherent limitations in the use of some data sources in the Labour Account.

Data users should pay particular attention to the following elements of the data:

1. Accounting for the secondary jobs of multiple job holders. This has been based on information from the Linked Employer Employee Dataset (LEED) to determine the industry allocation of multiple job holders. Information from the LEED is currently based on data from 2017-18, and may not fully reflect the extent of change in industry distribution which has occurred as a result of COVID-19.

2. Accounting for non-residents who are in Australia on a short term basis. The June quarter saw a large reduction in arrivals and departures as a result of the impact of COVID-19, and this low level of arrivals and departures has continued in subsequent quarters. No change has been introduced to the methodology to address the reduction in arrivals and departures resulting from the impact of COVID-19.

For further information on the data sources and methods used in the Labour Account, please refer to the Australian Labour Account: Concepts Sources and Methods.

Further information about the impact of COVID-19 on Labour Account estimates, please refer to the June quarter 2020 issue of the Labour Account publication.

Data downloads

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6150.0.55.003.