Weekly Payroll Jobs

Latest release

Payroll job estimates, sourced from Single Touch Payroll (STP) data

Reference period
Week ending 9 December 2023
Released
17/01/2024
  • Next Release 14/03/2024
    Weekly Payroll Jobs, Week ending 17 February 2024
  • Next Release 11/04/2024
    Weekly Payroll Jobs, Week ending 16 March 2024
  • Next Release 9/05/2024
    Weekly Payroll Jobs, Week ending 13 April 2024
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In the week ending 9 December 2023, payroll jobs:

  • increased by 0.5% in the month since 11 November 2023
  • increased by 2.4% in the year since 10 December 2022

One-month pause in this release

The previously advertised release of Weekly Payroll Jobs on 8 February 2024 has been suspended to enable the ABS to implement an update of employer characteristics - further detail are provided below. The next release will now be on 14 March 2024.

Update to employer characteristics in March 2024 release

The next release, on 14 March 2024, will include updated employer characteristics - industry, employment size and sector from the week ending 30 December 2023. This periodic update (which was last done for inclusion in the release on 10 November 2022) will refresh employer characteristics. It will reduce the number of payroll jobs with 'unknown' employer characteristics improving the quality of indexes that include industry, industry subdivision, employment size and sector.

The date at which employer characteristics are updated, called 'transition points', can be visible in the levels of some indexes. Users should always exercise caution when comparing week-on-week changes and index levels across transition points.

Further detail is available in the Updating characteristics variables subsection of How data are processed.

Further detail is available in Upcoming changes.

Seasonality and reporting variability

The movements in payroll jobs estimates at the 2023 year-end include large seasonal changes in the labour market - further described in a historical seasonality spotlight article.

Some businesses have reduced activity in late December and early January which may lead to a higher degree of reporting variability over year-end. This can result in higher than usual levels of revision for payroll jobs for this period when more normal reporting resumes. Further information is available in the Reporting variability section of Data variability and revisions.

Factors affecting interpretation

These estimates are not seasonally adjusted and seasonality can affect the interpretation of change, particularly between sub-annual periods. While annual comparisons can assist in understanding underlying change, they are less useful when events such as public holidays or pandemic lockdowns don't occur in the same week in both years. 

In addition, when comparing the change between any two periods, interpretation can be complicated by variations in payroll jobs composition. Payroll job indexes are compiled from over 11 million jobs and variations in the types of jobs reported can result in compositional change (which is not quantified). For example, each payroll job in each week: 

  • is counted in the same way regardless of job status (full-time, part-time or casual), hence variations in demand for casual staff can influence week-on-week change.
  • represents an individual in every paid job reported via STP, hence jobholders working multiple jobs are counted more than once. While multiple jobholders account for less than 10% of all payroll jobs, they can increase the rate of change seen week-to-week (in some industries) in circumstances where they are unable to work in any of their jobs (e.g. due to illness) and are not paid when absent.

Compositional change can also differ at the industry or state and territory level, particularly when there are localised labour market issues.

Alternative period comparisons 

The combination of seasonal effects and differences in composition can increase the volatility of week-on-week or month-on-month changes in these estimates. For these reasons, the ABS recommends using comparisons of the current month to the same month in the previous year, or 3 months prior, to understand any trends in the payroll jobs estimates presented. These comparisons will likely reduce the impact of seasonal factors and compositional change, making trends easier to identify. 

Revisions

This release sees higher than usual revisions between early to mid-September 2023, as the 16 week imputation retention threshold passes through this period. These revisions mostly reflect the removal of previously imputed records, with the receipt of more complete data. Users should exercise caution when referring to estimates around this period. 

Change periods

This release presents percentage change between the weeks ending 9 December 2023 and:

  • 25 November 2023, for fortnight
  • 11 November 2023, for month
  • 10 December 2022, for year

This differs for employment size estimates which are a month lagged.

National

In the month to 9 December 2023, payroll jobs increased by 0.5%, compared to a 0.0% change in the previous month.

  1. Indexed to the week ending 14 March 2020 (week 10 in 2020).
  2. Week 0 represents the weeks ending 4 January 2020, 2 January 2021, 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022. Week 49 represents the weeks ending 12 December 2020, 11 December 2021, 10 December 2022 and 9 December 2023.
  3. Around the change in financial years estimates see a greater variation in business payroll reporting. For more information, see the Data variability and revisions section. 

 

Estimates of change throughout this release are calculated using un-rounded index values. They may be different from, but are more accurate than, movements obtained from the rounded index values.

State and territory

All geographical areas in this release represent the residential address of the jobholder. 

In the month to 9 December 2023, the largest changes in payroll jobs were:

  • Tasmania, up 1.1%
  • Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia up 0.6%
Percentage change in payroll jobs, by state and territory
Fortnight (%)Month (%)Year (%)
New South Wales0.20.41.8
Victoria0.10.61.8
Queensland0.00.22.5
South Australia0.10.63.2
Western Australia0.20.63.9
Tasmania0.71.12.5
Northern Territory0.20.14.8
Australian Capital Territory0.10.33.2
Australia0.10.52.4

Monthly percentage change in payroll jobs, by state and territory

Loading map...

This map presents the percentage change in payroll jobs in the month up to 9 December 2023, by the state and territory of the jobholder's residential address. 

Sex and age group

As at 9 December 2023, the proportion of jobholders with unknown sex has risen to 8.3%. These jobholders are not evenly distributed, hence this proportion differs across detailed indexes which include sex, and can affect comparisons over time. Indexes of persons aged 15-19 years old by sex are particularly impacted by rising proportions of unknown sex, hence the withdrawal of indexes of persons aged 15-19 years old by sex in the release of 11 May 2023. See the historical Methods review section on the Update of jobholder characteristics for more information. 

In the month to 9 December 2023, the largest changes in payroll jobs were:

  • worked by females, up 0.5%
  • worked by persons aged 15-19, up 2.3%
Percentage change in payroll jobs, by sex and age group (a)
  Fortnight (%)Month (%)Year (%)
SexMales-0.2-0.2-2.3
Females0.10.5-0.3
Age group (years)15-190.62.3-4.4
20-290.10.53.0
30-390.00.23.4
40-490.00.12.8
50-590.10.21.2
60-690.60.84.2
70 and over1.02.08.2
All persons 0.10.52.4

a. Persons with 'unknown' sex and age are only included in the calculation of All persons indexes. For more information, see Inclusion of unknown characteristics in How data are processed.

5 year age groups

Time series estimates of payroll jobs by 5 year age groups by sex are presented as index values in Table 8 of the Data downloads.

Industry

In the month to 9 December 2023, the largest changes in payroll jobs were:

  • Retail trade, up 1.9%
  • Transport, postal and warehousing, up 1.0%
  • Arts and recreation services, up 0.9%
Percentage change in payroll jobs, by industry (a) (b)
Fortnight (%)Month (%)Year (%)
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.3-0.6-7.5
Mining-0.20.17.5
Manufacturing-0.1-0.3-0.4
Electricity, gas, water and waste services0.00.16.2
Construction-0.1-0.2-1.7
Wholesale trade0.40.20.2
Retail trade0.91.9-0.4
Accommodation and food services0.10.0-7.1
Transport, postal and warehousing-0.31.00.3
Information media and telecommunications0.20.5-2.3
Financial and insurance services0.10.00.5
Rental, hiring and real estate services0.20.0-2.5
Professional, scientific and technical services0.20.2-2.6
Administrative and support services0.10.4-2.3
Public administration and safety0.2-0.11.6
Education and training-0.80.55.6
Health care and social assistance0.30.65.3
Arts and recreation services-0.10.92.5
Other services0.10.4-0.3
All industries0.10.52.4
  1. Some industries experience pronounced seasonality in payroll jobs. For more information, see Seasonality in Data variability and revisions.
  2. Jobs with 'unknown' industry are only included in the calculation of all industry indexes. For more information, see Inclusion of unknown characteristics in How data are processed.
  1. Industries ranked by percentage change in the latest month.

Industry subdivision

Time series estimates of payroll jobs by industry subdivision are presented as index values in Table 6 of the Data downloads. For more information on the industry classifications used in this release, see the Glossary

Private sector industry

Time series estimates of payroll jobs by private sector for selected industry divisions are presented as index values in Table 9 of the Data downloads. More information on the sector classification can be found in Updating characteristics variables in How data are processed and the Glossary

Industry employment guide

To learn more about the different labour measures available, their purpose and how to use them, see our Industry employment guide.

Employment size

The ABS advises caution in using the most recent periods in payroll jobs by employment size indexes, which are subject to higher than usual revisions over a longer period - particularly for small employers. These indexes are more heavily influenced by changes in reporting behaviour and reporting obligations than other indexes, affecting the interpretation of underlying change in labour market conditions. To provide more stability at the end point of these series, a month lag in the reference week is in place. 

This release presents percentage change between the weeks ending 11 November 2023 and:

  • 28 October 2023, for fortnight
  • 14 October 2023, for month
  • 12 November 2022, for year

In the month to 11 November 2023, the largest changes in payroll jobs were:

  • 0-19 employees, down 0.7%
Percentage change in payroll jobs by employment size, for the week ending 11 November 2023 (a)
Fortnight (%)Month (%)Year (%)
0-19 employees-0.8-0.72.5
20-199 employees0.10.4-1.2
200 employees and over0.40.34.2
All businesses0.00.02.5
  1. Records with 'unknown' employment size are only included in the calculation of All businesses indexes. For more information, see Revisions in sub-populations in Data variability and revisions

Distribution of characteristics

To aid in the interpretability of payroll job estimates, the following data download contains selected distributions of jobholder and employer characteristics by state and territory. 

Records with 'unknown' characteristics have been excluded from the calculation of proportions. For more information on the source, impact and proportion of unknowns, see the Updating characteristic variables and Inclusion of unknown characteristics sections of How data are processed

Table 20: Payroll jobs - characteristics distributions

Contains selected distributions of jobholder and employer characteristics. 

Data downloads

Indexes of persons aged 15-19 years old by sex have been withdrawn (since the 11 May 2023 release) and appear as NA (not available) in Tables 4 and 8.

Table 4: Payroll jobs indexes

Table 6: Industry subdivision - Payroll jobs indexes

Table 7: Employer characteristics - Payroll jobs index

Table 8: Jobholder characteristics - Payroll jobs index

Table 9: Sector - Payroll jobs index

All data cubes

Upcoming changes

Update to employer characteristics

The next release, on 14 March 2024, will include updated employer characteristics, reflecting a snapshot from the ABS Business Register as at December 2023. Information on how STP data are enhanced by the ABS through combining other administrative data to produce labour statistics, are found in the Updating characteristics variables subsection of How data are processed.

The update will improve the quality of indexes that include industry, industry subdivision, employment size and sector. This update will impact the indexes from the week ending 30 December 2023 onwards by refreshing employer characteristics and populating those which were 'unknown'.

Additional detail on the impacts of updating business characteristics will be included in the next release on 14 March 2024. Information on the impacts of the last update applied in the November 2022 release can be found in Update of characteristics variables.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6160.0.55.001.

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