Payroll jobs fall into July: Australia

Payroll jobs fell 0.8 per cent in the month to 16 July 2022, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said: “While some of the fall in payroll jobs over late June and into early July reflects the seasonal influence of school holidays on the labour market, together with end of financial year seasonality in payroll reporting, it also covers a period with increasing employee absences from COVID and other illnesses.

“During periods of high employee absences, we’ve seen that payroll jobs data can show slower growth and larger short-term changes than Labour Force statistics on employment, given employees without paid leave entitlements may be away from work for a short period without losing their job.”

The interpretation of change in payroll jobs around the end of financial year can be particularly challenging, until business reporting is more complete.

“As employers finalise their employees’ earnings information and the financial year is reset in payrolls, estimates of payroll jobs can show a higher level of variation and subsequent revisions, particularly around June and July.” Mr Jarvis said.

Changes over time

The employee absences up to mid-July 2022 follow a sequence of labour market disruptions outside of seasonality, as seen in previous years. This period in 2021 coincided with the emergence of the COVID Delta variant, while in 2020 the labour market had just started to recover from the initial pandemic outbreak.

“While employee absences have impacted on week-to-week changes in payroll jobs in recent months, underlying growth has generally continued through the year. By mid-July 2022, payroll jobs were 4.5 per cent above mid-July 2021 and 9.9 per cent above mid-July 2020,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This also reflects what we have seen in terms of increases in payroll jobs since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, with around 8 per cent more payroll jobs in mid-July 2022, compared with around 4 per cent more by mid-July 2021.”

Payroll jobs indexed to the week ending 14 March 2020 (week 11 in 2020), original

2020 (pts)2021 (pts)2022 (pts)
week 192.796.099.0
week 295.297.399.5
week 396.799.4101.7
week 497.5100.4103.2
week 598.1101.0104.0
week 698.7101.5104.5
week 799.1102.2105.0
week 899.5102.5104.8
week 999.5102.9104.6
week 1099.9103.1105.0
week 11100.0103.6106.0
week 1299.0103.7106.4
week 1395.5103.6106.3
week 1493.0102.7106.0
week 1591.7102.3105.9
week 1691.6102.6105.4
week 1792.2102.9105.8
week 1892.7103.2106.7
week 1993.4103.6107.6
week 2094.1103.8107.9
week 2194.5104.0108.2
week 2294.8103.7108.5
week 2395.8103.3108.4
week 2496.2103.5108.9
week 2596.3103.7109.2
week 2696.2103.4109.4
week 2797.5103.3109.3
week 2898.6104.0109.0
week 2998.7103.7108.4
week 3098.9102.5
week 3199.1102.7
week 3299.2102.5
week 3399.1102.4
week 3499.2101.7
week 3599.3101.2
week 3699.6101.2
week 37100.0101.8
week 38100.2102.2
week 39100.0102.0
week 4099.3101.7
week 4199.5102.1
week 42100.3103.8
week 43100.7104.9
week 44100.8105.8
week 45101.3106.3
week 46102.0106.8
week 47102.4107.3
week 48102.6107.6
week 49103.2107.9
week 50103.3107.8
week 51102.5107.0
week 5298.8103.3

Week 1 represents the week ending 4 January 2020, 2 January 2021 and 1 January 2022. Week 29 represents the week ending 18 July 2020, 17 July 2021 and 16 July 2022.

State and territory

Payroll jobs fell in all states and territories in the month to mid-July, with the largest falls in the Northern Territory (down 1.2 per cent) and Victoria (down 1.1 per cent). Most states and territories saw the majority of the fall in the second fortnight of the month.

The timing of school holidays differs between states and territories, reflected in different seasonality in the weekly payroll jobs data. For example, there was a slight dip in payroll jobs in the last fortnight of June in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. These jurisdictions commenced their Winter term break in the last week of June 2022, at least a week earlier than other parts of the country.

Fortnightly change in payroll jobs, by state and territory

18 June – 2 July (%)2 July – 16 July (%)
New South Wales0.3-1.1
South Australia0.4-0.7
Western Australia0.2-0.6
Northern Territory0.0-1.2
Australian Capital Territory1.1-1.7

Men and women

Over the month to mid-July, payroll jobs fell for both men (down 1.1 per cent) and women (down 0.7 per cent).

“While the recent changes in payroll jobs were relatively similar for men and women, over the past year there has been a much larger increase in payroll jobs worked by women – 3.7 per cent, compared with 0.3 per cent for men,” Mr Jarvis said.

The ABS acknowledges the continued support of the Australian Taxation Office in enabling the ABS to produce weekly insights into the Australian labour market from Single Touch Payroll data.

/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.