Australian Job Postings Through April 23: No JobKeeper, No Problems
Australian hiring activity has continued to surge during April, with job postings now 43.1% above 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 April 23 they were tracking 43.1% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends.
Postings dipped slightly in early April, likely reflecting some residual seasonality from Easter, but have since surged higher. The end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy on March 28 does not appear to have any impact on hiring trends nationally.
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. Short-term lockdowns appear likely to continue going forward due to the slower than anticipated vaccine rollout.
Recruitment activity has increased in every state and territory over the past two weeks. Posting numbers are healthy across the country and well above pre-pandemic levels.
Compared with last year’s baseline, postings are up 49.5% in Western Australia, 46.2% in Victoria and 45.5% in New South Wales. South Australia and Tasmania bring up the rear but are still up 20.6% and 27.9%, respectively.
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.
Job postings in the top two occupations, cleaning & sanitation and loading & stocking, continued to grow strongly. Postings in these occupations are more than twice as high as they were on February 1 last year.
Jumping into the top three was food preparation roles. That’s a stunning turnaround for a sector that was devastated by COVID-19 lockdowns. Restaurants are now operating at capacity, creating opportunities across the country.
Postings for logistic support dropped by 26% points compared with a fortnight ago but remain one of the strongest occupations overally, relative to pre-pandemic hiring.
Postings for most of the ‘worst performing’ occupations are now either above last year’s baseline or have improved recently. Just four of the 56 occupations assessed had posting levels that were below their pre-pandemic baseline.
Postings for veterinary and hospitality roles remain, by far, the weakest. Veterinary postings are down 27.4% compared with February 1 last year; however, the category is relatively small and can be highly volatile from week-to-week. A bigger concern is the ongoing weakness in hospitality & tourism roles. It’s hard to see hiring in that area picking up until domestic and international travel returns to normal.
Hiring activity in Australia remains elevated, with postings well above its pre-pandemic baseline. The dip in early April, likely reflecting Easter, was short-lived. Strong postings figures, if they persist, would point to strong employment gains in the coming months.
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.