COVID-19: Australian Hiring Continues to Improve Through End of May
Australian hiring activity continued to improve towards the end of May, particularly in areas where restrictions have been lifted.
- Australian job postings are 50% lower than their trend at the same point last year, continuing their recent improvement.
- New job postings have more than doubled from their post-Easter low but are still well below their pre-crisis trend.
- Hiring activity across a range of sectors, such as dental and beauty & wellness, has improved considerably over the past two weeks.
Australia has few timely measures that help to identify the impact of COVID-19 on labour market conditions. Job postings from Indeed is one of the few, with data updated daily and never more than a few days old.
As this crisis unfolds, we will be updating our data on job postings regularly. So feel free to return for the latest snapshot on Australian hiring.
Australia job postings
As at 29 May, Australian job postings on Indeed AU were tracking 50% lower than their trend at the same stage last year, improving from a 52% gap two-weeks ago. Hiring conditions have improved across Australian in recent weeks, tracking in line with the removal of restrictions across the country.
The improvement in hiring activity is even more apparent when focusing on new job postings, which are defined as those on Indeed AU for 7-days or less. New job postings have more than doubled from their low point on 19 April. Despite that impressive turnaround, plenty of improvement is still required: new job postings this year are tracking 46% below their trend last year.
Some sectors are improving
Hiring activity for every sector remains well below last year’s trend, with drivers and nurses the best performers throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Both occupations have played an important role in Australia during the pandemic, either by treating the virus or helping businesses connect with their customers. Yet job postings for drivers and nurses are still tracking 20% and 27%, respectively, below last year’s trend.
Hiring activity across other sectors has been much weaker. Job postings for hospitality & tourism, pharmacy and sports are all down 80% or more compared with last year’s trend.
Yet there is clear improvement across many sectors. Hiring activity is tracking higher, relative to last year’s trend, in 54% of sector groups, compared with a week earlier. The biggest improvement has been in hiring in dental, beauty & wellness, loading & stocking, and media & communications.
This improvement reflects the lifting of restrictions across the country, with dentists and beauty salons re-opening.
Hiring activity has deteriorated in some areas recently, led by mechanical engineering and medical technicians. We discuss healthcare trends more broadly here.
Restrictions continue to be lifted across Australia, prompting greater economic and hiring activity. This improvement is likely to continue in coming weeks, with hiring activity gradually improving towards more normal levels. We shouldn’t expect the economy to snap back to what it was pre-crisis, at least not initially, but our economy is beginning to return to something resembling normal.
To measure the trends in job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of AU job postings on Indeed. We index each day’s 7-day moving average to 1 Feb for that year (1 Feb, 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on), or another date if specified on the chart.
We report how the trend in job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labour market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings for a country increased 5% from 1 February, 2019, to 28 March, 2019, but fell 25% from 1 February, 2020, to 28 March, 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 105 in 2019 and fallen 100 to 75 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 29% on 28 March (75 is 29% below 105) in 2020 relative to 2019.Information based on publicly available information on the Indeed AU website, limited to Australia, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.
Callam Pickering is an Economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab with a focus on Australia. Previously he was an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia focusing on household spending and house prices. He also worked as the economic editor at online publications the Business Spectator and Eureka Report where he covered economic issues relating to Australia. Callam earned a Bachelor of economics and Accounting from Monash University.