Australian Job Postings Through March 26: Postings Strong Ahead of JobKeeper Finish
Ahead of JobKeeper finishing up, Australian job postings continued to surge, now up 32.2% on their level on February 1 last year.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market. Our methodology changed at the start of 2021, as explained in the methodology note at the end of the post.
Job postings on Indeed are a real-time measure of labour market activity. On March 26 they were tracking 32.2% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends.
Postings are up from +26.2% a fortnight ago and +20.7% at the end of February.
In 2020, job postings plunged from mid-March until late April, falling by half, and then gradually improved over the remainder of the year. Victoria’s lengthy second lockdown slowed the recovery, creating a temporary divergence between Victoria and the rest of Australia. Thankfully, there appears to be no lasting impact on Victorian recruitment and short-term lockdowns in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria have had minimal hiring impact.
In the past two-weeks, job postings continued to improve across every state and territory. Posting numbers are healthy across the country and well above pre-pandemic levels.
Compared with last year’s baseline, postings are up 38.5% in Western Australia and 37.6% in New South Wales. The recent surge in New South Wales, Australia’s largest economy, is a welcome development ahead of JobKeeper finishing up.
Postings in Victoria increased slightly, now up 27.7% compared with February 1 last year. Postings in Queensland are tracking similarly.
Hiring continues to improve in most occupational groups
Australia’s hiring recovery has been impressive and, although there are some occupations lagging behind, most are heading in the right direction.
The top three occupations were unchanged compared with a fortnight ago. Job postings for cleaning & sanitation roles are up 106% compared with their baseline on February 1 last year. Postings for loading & stocking and logistics support are up 92% and 89%, respectively. All three occupations have experienced strong postings growth over the past two-weeks.
Construction hiring continues to improve, now up 66%, while postings for food preparation roles are also healthy, up 62%. Both occupations have struggled during the pandemic, relying heavily on JobKeeper subsidies.
The hiring recovery remains slowest in hospitality & tourism. Hospitality postings are down 23% against their baseline, however, they have improved 10.6% points compared with a fortnight ago.
Postings for most of the ‘worst performing’ occupations are either above last year’s baseline or have improved recently. That indicates that the hiring recovery continues to broaden.
Australia’s hiring recovery continued uninterrupted during March, building on the strong gains from earlier this year. The end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy on March 28 represents a major obstacle on the road to recovery. Combined with an early Easter, we can expect postings to moderate somewhat during April.
All figures in this blogpost are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since February 1, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average. February 1 last year is our pre-pandemic baseline. We seasonally adjust each series based on historical patterns in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Each series, including the national trend, occupational sectors, and sub-national geographies, is seasonally adjusted separately.
We adopted this new methodology in January 2021 and now use it to report all historical data. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ significantly from originally reported values. The new methodology applies a detrended seasonal adjustment factor to the percentage change in job postings. In contrast, our previous methodology used the 2019 change between February 1 and the reported date as the adjustment factor, which implicitly included both a seasonality component and the underlying trend.
This blogpost is based on publicly available information on the Indeed Australia website and any other countries if named in the post. Unless specified otherwise, it is 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.