Payroll jobs remain relatively flat: Australia

The number of payroll jobs in mid-October remained relatively flat to mid-September, down by 0.3 per cent, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said: “Payroll jobs fell by 0.7 per cent in the second half of September and rose by 0.4 per cent in the first half of October, as people returned to work after the school holidays.”

“This followed a similar seasonal pattern across September and October in previous years, though closer to 2020 than 2021, given the pronounced recovery from the Delta-related lockdowns late last year.”

Payroll jobs, indexed to the week ending 14 March 2020 (week 10 in 2020)

2020 (pts)2021 (pts)2022 (pts)
week 092.796.199.4
week 195.197.399.9
week 296.799.5102.2
week 397.5100.5103.6
week 498.0101.0104.4
week 598.7101.6104.9
week 699.1102.3105.5
week 799.5102.6105.3
week 899.5103.0105.1
week 999.9103.2105.5
week 10100.0103.6106.5
week 1199.0103.8106.8
week 1295.5103.6106.8
week 1393.0102.7106.5
week 1491.7102.4106.7
week 1591.6102.6106.0
week 1692.2102.9105.7
week 1792.7103.3106.2
week 1893.4103.7106.8
week 1994.1103.9107.1
week 2094.5104.1107.3
week 2194.8103.8107.5
week 2295.8103.4107.3
week 2396.2103.6107.8
week 2496.3103.8108.0
week 2596.2103.5107.7
week 2697.5103.4106.9
week 2798.6104.2106.8
week 2898.7103.9106.6
week 2998.9102.7107.5
week 3099.1102.9108.2
week 3199.2102.7108.5
week 3299.1102.6108.7
week 3399.2101.9108.5
week 3499.3101.4108.6
week 3599.6101.5108.5
week 36100.1102.1108.6
week 37100.2102.5108.6
week 38100.0102.3108.3
week 3999.3102.0107.8
week 4099.5102.4107.9
week 41100.4104.1108.3
week 42100.7105.3
week 43100.9106.1
week 44101.3106.7
week 45102.0107.2
week 46102.4107.7
week 47102.7107.9
week 48103.2108.3
week 49103.3108.2
week 50102.6107.4
week 5198.9103.7

Week 0 represents the week ending 4 January 2020, 2 January 2021 and 1 January 2022. Week 41 represents the week ending 17 October 2020, 16 October 2021 and 15 October 2022.


Payroll jobs in mid-October were below their mid-September level in 12 of the 19 industries.

“Across these industries, Accommodation and food services and Education and training, which were particularly affected by school holidays, had the largest share of falls. Together they accounted for around 54 per cent of the payroll jobs losses in the month, which was much greater than their usual share of total payroll jobs (around 16 per cent),” Mr Jarvis said.

“In contrast, Retail trade and Construction accounted for around 59 per cent of payroll job increases in the month to mid-October, also well above their usual share of jobs (around 16 per cent).”

Share of payroll jobs, by industry

Remaining industries (%)Retail trade (%)Education and training (%)Accommodation and food services (%)Construction (%)
Losses over month to 15 October 202245.728.126.2
Rises over month to 15 October 202241.234.624.2
Total payroll jobs at 17 September 202267.

Remaining industries are not the same group of industries in ‘losses over month’ and ‘rises over month’ groups.

States and territories

Payroll jobs fell in 6 of 8 states and territories in the month to mid-October 2022, with the largest falls in New South Wales (down 0.5 per cent), Queensland and the Northern Territory (both down 0.4 per cent).

Both Victoria and Western Australia saw no change (0.0 per cent) in payroll jobs across the month to mid-October 2022. Payroll job increases in the Construction and Retail trade industries in Victoria, and Health care and social assistance industry in Western Australia offset falls from other industries in those states.

Some of the differences in growth in payroll jobs across the states and territories reflects the variation in the timing of their school and public holidays.

Seasonality in wages

Total wages paid fell 5.5 per cent in the month to mid-October 2022, following a seasonal increase in the previous month, reflecting the payment of periodic bonuses in multiple industries around September each year.

As Single Touch Payroll data does not currently separate bonuses and other types of payment, such as overtime from wages and salaries, it is not possible to identify underlying movements in core wages and salaries in these statistics. It is important to consider seasonality in these additional payments, particularly around the end of quarters and financial years, when assessing changes over time.

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.