Job vacancies decline in August: Australia

There were 471,000 job vacancies in August 2022, a decrease of 10,000 from May 2022, according to new seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Lauren Ford, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The number of job vacancies declined by 2 per cent over the three months to August 2022, although remained elevated in historical terms and are still more than double pre-pandemic levels.”

The number of job vacancies in August 2022 was 41 per cent higher than August last year (334,000), when the labour market was impacted by the Delta wave lockdowns. The August 2022 job vacancies were also more than double what they were in February 2020 (227,000), prior to the pandemic.

“The large growth in vacancies through the pandemic has coincided with a decline in the number of unemployed people. As a result, there were a similar number of unemployed people (488,000) to job vacancies (471,000) in August 2022, compared with three times as many unemployed people to vacancies before the start of the pandemic,” Ms Ford said.

“Despite the overall quarterly decrease, the number of job vacancies continued to increase in some industries, such as Retail trade (up 15 per cent) and Accommodation and food services (up 14 per cent). This reflected ongoing labour shortages in a tight labour market, particularly in customer facing industries,” Ms Ford said.

Across the states and territories, the largest quarterly percentage decline in job vacancies was in Tasmania (down 17 per cent) and Western Australia (down 7 per cent). The largest percentage growth was in Queensland (up 9 per cent), followed by Victoria (up 5 per cent).

The industries with the largest percentage decrease in vacancies over the quarter were Construction (16 per cent) and Education and training (12 per cent). The industries with the highest percentage growth were Transport, postal and warehousing (17 per cent) and Retail trade (15 per cent).

Job vacancies, change from February 2020 and May 2022, industry, original

Industry Division% Change May 2022 to August 2022% Change February 2020 to August 2022
Accommodation and food services13.8300.9
Arts and recreation services-7.8231.7
Rental, hiring and real estate services4.1216.5
Health care and social assistance7.9149.8
Retail trade14.6144.2
Transport, postal and warehousing16.7135.5
Electricity, gas, water and waste services5.7107.7
Public administration and safety13.8106.8
Other services-10.799.5
Professional, scientific and technical services2.867.6
Wholesale trade7.162.3
Information media and telecommunications1.459.5
Financial and insurance services-7.756.0
Education and training-11.544.8
Administrative and support services-0.422.0

The decline in job vacancies was driven by the private sector, which decreased by 3 per cent over the three months to August 2022. At the same time, public sector vacancies increased by 11 per cent. However, vacancies in both the private and public sectors increased over the year (40 per cent and 45 per cent).

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

/ABS Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.