Labour Account Australia

Latest release

The Australian Labour Account provides quarterly and annual time series for four quadrants: Jobs, People, Hours and Payments

Reference period
September 2022
Released
14/12/2022
  • Next Release 3/03/2023
    Labour Account Australia, December 2022
  • Next Release 9/06/2023
    Labour Account Australia, March 2023
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022:

  • Total jobs increased 0.3% to 15.4 million.
  • Filled jobs increased 0.2% to 14.9 million.
  • Secondary jobs decreased 0.2% to 997,200.
  • Proportion of vacant jobs increased to 3.2%.
  • Multiple job holders increased 0.4% to 895,900.
  • Hours worked remained at 5.6 billion hours.
 
 Sep-22Quarterly changeQuarterly change (%)Annual changeAnnual change (%)
Jobs     
Total jobs15,389,00046,2000.3%1,075,9007.5%
Filled jobs14,893,30024,0000.2%929,3006.7%
Job vacancies495,70022,2004.7%146,60042.0%
Main jobs13,896,10025,6000.2%790,4006.0%
Secondary jobs997,200-1,600-0.2%138,90016.2%
Proportion of vacant jobs3.2%0.1 ptsna0.8 ptsna
People     
Employed people13,838,700-16,800-0.1%783,9006.0%
Multiple job holders895,9003,9000.4%128,20016.7%
Multiple job holding rate6.5%0.0 ptsna0.6 ptsna
Hours     
Hours actually worked5,574.7 million2.1 million0.0%343.8 million6.6%
Payments     
Average income per employed person$22,409.30$358.501.6%$759.603.5%

All data are shown in seasonally adjusted terms

Guide to labour statistics

To learn more about our different labour measures, their purpose and how to use them, see our new Guide to labour statistics. It provides summary information on labour market topics including Industry employment data.

Data impacts and changes

Revisions in this issue

A range of revisions and enhancements have been implemented into the Labour Account this quarter, including:

  • a new method for allocating annual Labour Force Survey benchmarks for hours worked across quarters, incorporating information from each month of the quarter. Further details are available in the "Improving the estimation of hours worked in the Labour Account" section below.
  • refinements to the method used to estimate the number of employed short-term non-residents, and the number of child workers (employed children aged 5-14). Further details are available in the "Improving the estimation of short-term non-residents and child workers in the Labour Account" section below.
  • new and updated data sources, including: 
    • Annual benchmarks used in estimating business-side filled jobs
    • Data from the most recent Input-Output and Supply-Use tables
    • Data from the 2021 Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours
    • Data from the 2019-20 Linked Employer-Employee Dataset

In addition, forward factors used as part of seasonal adjustment have also been updated to reflect changes in seasonality arising from these revisions.

Improving the estimation of hours worked in the Labour Account

An improved method has been implemented into the Labour Account to better reflect hours worked across all months of the quarter.

Quarterly hours worked were previously estimated in the Labour Account based on Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates of hours actually worked in mid-quarter months (i.e. February, May, August and November). Mid-quarter months were used because industry information is only collected in the mid-quarter months.

The new method involves imputing industry data for the non-mid-quarter months using the longitudinal nature of the LFS sample, by using information on industry of employment in the mid-quarter months for respondents where information on job tenure suggests they were in the same job across those months. Hours worked in each month are then summed by industry across the three months of the quarter to produce a quarterly indicator.

As the new method uses hours worked data from all months of the year, the original estimates now reflect similar calendar effects to those seen in the source LFS data. For example, the proximity of the LFS reference week to New Year's Day and the timing of Easter relative to the LFS reference weeks. To account for these, the Labour Account has adopted a method of adjustment similar to that used in the LFS. The method adjusts the original estimates of hours worked to account for the timing of public and school holidays. This 'adjusted' original series is then seasonally adjusted. As a result, the original Labour Account series now exhibit a greater degree of (real world) seasonality than previously observed.

Improving the estimation of short-term non-residents and child workers in the Labour Account

Revisions published with the September quarter Labour Account include improvements to the methods used to produce estimates of short-term non-residents, and employed children aged 5 to 14. These people are out-of-scope of the monthly Labour Force Survey.

Short-term non-residents

Estimates of short-term non-resident are derived from Net Overseas Migration (NOM) data. Given the unavoidable lag in NOM data, Overseas Arrivals and Departures (OAD) data is used to extrapolate the series for the period where NOM data are unavailable. A range of information around reason for travel and visa class is used to group non-residents into one of four groups: (i) students, (ii) sponsored visa holders, (iii) working holiday makers, or (iv) other non-student visa holders. Employment rates are then determined based on assumed characteristics of each group of these non-residents.

The assumptions around their propensity for employment, and the associated assumptions around the number of hours worked by these groups, have been refined by making better use of existing and additional data sources. In aggregate terms, estimates of employed people have been revised down for students and working holiday visa holders, and revised up for other visa holders. Similarly, estimates of hours worked have been revised down for students, and up for non-student visa holders.
 

Child workers

The method for estimating the labour market contribution of child workers, which was implemented in the initial development of the Labour Account, has been based on level estimates from the June 2006 Child Employment Survey (CES), with growth rates applied to project the series forward and backwards. The CES provides estimates of children aged 5 to 14 years who worked at some time during the 12 months to June 2006.

The ABS has implemented an improved method with this release. It continues to use the CES, as this is currently the only comprehensive source of employment data for children aged 5 to 14 years, but with some important changes.

The new method for estimating the number of child workers improves upon the previous method through:

  • introducing a modelled adjustment to the source June 2006 CES data – which converts the number of children employed at some time during the year to June 2006, to a stock of children employed at June 2006. This adjustment uses information from the annual Participation, Job Search and Mobility (formerly Labour Mobility) supplementary survey topic on the proportion of 15 year olds who worked at some time during the year (to February) who were working at a point in time (in February). The adjustment factor is updated annually.
  • applying growth rates based on the growth in employment for 15 year-olds to estimate the series for the periods before and after June 2006. This replaces the current approach of applying ERP-based population growth rates to the June 2006 level.

The changes in the method results in the estimate of the number of child workers being revised down by around 25%, with a growth pattern that is more reflective of real-world labour market conditions.

Scope differences between the Labour Account and Labour Force Survey

The Labour Account is designed to complement the headline monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) by providing measures of all employed people, and all jobs, in the Australian economy. It accounts for the following groups that are outside the scope of the LFS:

  • employed short-term non-residents
  • Australian defence force personnel
  • child workers (employed people under the age of 15)

Thus, the difference between the original estimates of employed persons from the LFS and the Labour Account is the combined estimated contribution for these three groups.

Over the COVID period, there have been large decreases in the number of short-term non-resident arrivals in Australia, with gradual increases in recent quarters as border restrictions have eased. There were decreases in the number of employed children over this period (in line with overall reductions in employment around lock downs and other restrictions). These reductions are not reflected in Labour Force employment estimates but are accounted for in Labour Account estimates.

Child workers (employed people under 15) tend to make the largest contribution to the scope adjustment (to the number of employed people and jobs), while Defence force personnel generally make the largest contribution to hours worked.

For the September quarter 2022, the scope adjustment in the Labour Account comprised:

  • child workers - around two-thirds (61%) of employed people and around one in five (22%) of hours worked
  • Defence force personnel - close to one in four (23%) employed people and over half (55%) of hours worked
  • short-term non-resident workers - around 17% of employed people and around a quarter (25%) of hours worked

At the height of the pandemic, border closures had a significant impact on these relative contributions. For the September quarter 2021, the scope adjustment in the Labour Account comprised:

  • child workers - around two-thirds (62%) of employed people and nearly one in four (19%) of hours worked
  • Defence force personnel - over one in three (38%) employed people and over four in five (82%) of hours worked
  • short-term non-resident workers - around 1% of employed people and  hours worked

In comparison, for the March quarter 2020, which was prior to the impacts of COVID-19 on Labour Account estimates, the scope adjustment in the Labour Account comprised:

  • child workers - just over half (54%) of employed people, and 16% of hours worked
  • Defence force personnel - just over one in four (27%) employed people and over half (54%) of hours worked
  • short-term non-resident workers – around one in five (20%) employed people and close to a third (31%) of hours worked

Note, there is a negative adjustment to hours worked from residents working for overseas organisations, hence the components above add to more than 100%.

Jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022:

  • Filled jobs increased by 0.2% following a 1.4% rise in the June quarter 2022. Filled jobs grew by 6.7% through the year.
  • The number of main jobs increased by 25,600 (or 0.2%).
  • The number of multiple job holders increased by 0.4%.
  • The proportion of vacant jobs increased to 3.2% from the 3.1% recorded in the June quarter 2022.
  • The number of public sector jobs decreased by 0.9%, while the number of private sector jobs increased by 0.3%.

Total jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022, the total number of jobs increased by 46,200 (or 0.3%). This consisted of an increase of 22,200 job vacancies and an increase of 24,000 filled jobs.

Filled jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022, the number of filled jobs increased by 24,000 to 14.9 million. 

Filled jobs, by industry, September quarter 2022, seasonally adjusted
Filled jobs ('000)Quarterly change (%)Annual change (%)
Agriculture, forestry and fishing (A)459.1-2.6-1.6
Mining (B)200.6-3.19.2
Manufacturing (C)909.3-2.05.6
Electricity, gas, water and waste services (D)127.7-2.07.0
Construction (E)1,293.62.26.2
Wholesale trade (F)602.27.412.6
Retail trade (G)1,470.40.45.5
Accommodation and food services (H)1,232.83.932.6
Transport, postal and warehousing (I)686.60.69.8
Information media and telecommunications (J)205.05.610.7
Financial and insurance services (K)493.71.41.6
Rental, hiring and real estate services (L)320.22.914.5
Professional, scientific and technical services (M)1,256.9-4.05.1
Administrative and support services (N)1,017.23.010.2
Public administration and safety (O)740.3-3.6-4.3
Education and training (P)1,088.1-2.20.7
Health care and social assistance (Q)1,994.61.41.4
Arts and recreation services (R)256.7-1.327.6
Other services (S)538.3-6.4-0.5
Total all industries14,893.30.26.7

Main and secondary jobs

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022:

  • Main jobs increased by 25,600 (or 0.2%).
  • Secondary jobs decreased by 1,600 (or 0.2%). 
  • The proportion of secondary jobs to filled jobs remained at 6.7%.

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

Secondary jobs can be held by people who have their main job in the same or a different industry. 

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".  The household estimates of filled jobs are considered the best measure of labour market activity total economy level, while business sources are considered more reliable estimating the distribution of jobs across industries. As a result, the Labour Account filled jobs estimates are constrained (equivalent) to the household side.

The discrepancy between the two sources is reduced to zero through the balancing processes of the Labour Account, producing a single harmonised or "balanced" number of filled jobs. The balanced estimate of filled jobs incorporates the advantage of the industry distribution derived from business side data, whilst constraining to a total economy estimate sourced from household side data. In original terms the discrepancy between household sources and business sources was 803,300 jobs in the September quarter 2022, or 5.4% of the household estimate.

While the business sources have been showing stronger jobs growth over the COVID period, this hasn't impacted on overall Labour Accounts aggregates given the Labour Account jobs estimates are constrained to the household side.

Balancing decisions for Rental, hiring and real estate services and Other services were mostly based on household survey sources. All other industries were mostly based on business survey sources.

People

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022:

  • The total number of employed people decreased by 0.1% to 13.8 million. 
  • The number of multiple job holders increased by 0.4%.
  • Unemployed people decreased by 12,700 people to 484,200.

The three industries with the highest number of employed people in the September quarter 2022 were Health care and social assistance, Retail trade, and Construction.

Hours

In seasonally adjusted terms for the September quarter 2022, the total number of hours actually worked increased by 2.1 million hours (or 0.0%) to 5.6 billion hours.

The three industries with the highest number of hours actually worked in the September quarter 2022 were Health care and social assistance, Construction, and Professional, scientific and technical services.

Payments

The Labour Account Payments quadrant presents the costs incurred by enterprises in employing labour, and the income 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 September quarter 2022:

  • Total labour income increased by $4,590 million (or 1.5%) to $310,115 million. 
  • The average labour income per employed person increased by 1.6% to $22,409.
  • Total compensation of employees increased by 3.1% to $280,406 million.
  • Labour income from self-employment decreased by 11.2% to $29,708 million.
  • Total labour costs increased by $4,917 million (1.5%) to $331,200 million. 

The three industries with the highest total labour income in the September quarter 2022 were Health care and social assistance, Professional, scientific and technical services, and Construction.

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Quarterly estimates for Jobs, People, Hours and Payments by Industry Division and Total All Industries.

Data files

Data Explorer datasets

Annual estimates for Jobs, People, Hours and Payments by Industry Subdivision, Division and Total All Industries.

Labour Account balanced - Balanced annual estimates for Jobs, People, Hours and Payments by Industry Subdivision, Division and Total All Industries.

Labour Account unbalanced - Unbalanced annual estimates for Jobs, People, Hours and Payments by Total All Industries.

For information on Data Explorer and how it works, see the Data explorer user guide.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6150.0.55.003.

Back to top of the page