Australia’s Job Vacancies Ease in February, Remain High

There were 439,000 job vacancies in February 2023, down 1 per cent (-7,000) from November, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “the number of job vacancies fell by around 1 per cent between November and February, and were down by 9 per cent from the peak in May 2022.”

While this was the third consecutive quarter of declining job vacancies in Australia, job vacancies remained high.

“Job vacancies in February 2023 were still nearly double what they were three years ago, just before the start of the pandemic. There is still a very high demand for labour from employers across Australia and across all industries.”

The percentage of businesses reporting at least one vacancy fell for the first time in six quarters, down from 28 per cent in November to 24 per cent in February. This was still more than double what it had been in February 2020 (11 per cent).

Proportion of businesses reporting vacancies, Australia

Proportion (%)

The quarterly decline in job vacancies was seen in both the private and public sectors, with each falling by around 1 per cent from November 2022 to February 2023.

Western Australia saw the largest quarterly percentage decline in job vacancies, down by 15 per cent. New South Wales recorded the largest percentage quarterly growth, up 9 per cent.

“While there have been some recent falls in job vacancies in some states and territories, they continue to be high in all states and territories,” Mr Jarvis said.

Job vacancies, change from February 2020 to February 2023, states and territories, original

StateChange from before COVID-19 (%)
New South Wales82.8
South Australia96.7
Western Australia91.2
Northern Territory140.3
Australian Capital Territory72.9

While job vacancies fell in 11 of the 18 industries, they remained high across most industries when compared with February 2020.

“This continued to be most acute in the Accommodation and food services and Arts and recreation services industries, where vacancies were around three to four times what they were before the pandemic,” Mr Jarvis said.

Job vacancies, change from February 2020 to February 2023, industry, original

IndustryChange from before COVID-19 (%)
Accommodation and food services292.4
Arts and recreation services230.8
Health care and social assistance143.4
Electricity, gas, water and waste services112.4
Public administration and safety98.5
Transport, postal and warehousing93.9
Retail trade92.4
Rental, hiring and real estate services83.7
Professional, scientific and technical services81.0
Other services75.1
Education and training74.8
Wholesale trade30.1
Financial and insurance services25.2
Administrative and support services23.2
Information media and telecommunications6.8

The ABS would like to thank businesses in Australia for their continued support in responding to our surveys.

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