Australian Job Postings Through September 10: Modest Decline as Lockdown Continues
While job postings continue to soften, the overall decline has been modest compared with extended lockdowns last year.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market.
While extended lockdowns continue in Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT, the impact on job postings has been relatively minor when compared with the lockdowns that occurred last year.
On September 10, job postings were tracking 45.1% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends. National postings have fallen 3.0% since the end of June.
The impact is larger, albeit still relatively small, when focusing on new job postings — that is postings that have been on Indeed Australia for one week or less. New postings are up 38.6% compared with February 1 last year, improving slightly over the past fortnight, but still down 7.5% since the end of the financial year.
While lockdowns have obviously been detrimental to Australia’s economy, the fact that job creation remains relatively strong is a cause for optimism in an otherwise depressing situation.
Australia’s two-speed economy
The extended lockdown in Sydney continues to weigh on New South Wales job postings. While they remain well above pre-pandemic levels, postings in New South Wales have declined by 9.0% since the end of June.
Victoria, in and out of lockdown since May, is faring better, with postings down only slightly since June 30. Meanwhile, the ACT, who have been in lockdown since mid-August, have experienced a 7.6% decline in job postings since June 30.
By comparison, postings in Western Australia continue to strengthen. They are up 77.1% compared with February 1 last year and have surged 12.5% since the end of the financial year. South Australia and Tasmania are also showing strong recent gains.
Hiring remains elevated across most occupational groups
The impact of recent lockdowns has been uneven across occupational groups. While hiring for most occupations is still above pre-pandemic levels, some occupations have experienced a large decline in postings since the end of June.
Job postings for food preparation roles have fallen by 42.6% since June 30, with childcare (-33.5%), cleaning & sanitation (-29.7%) and beauty & wellness roles (-21.9%) all experiencing a sharp decline in opportunities.
These roles, as well as most of the others that have fallen sharply, are sensitive to economic lockdown. They typically struggled during lockdown last year and have done so again over the past few months.
Nevertheless, there are still some occupations where hiring continues to expand. Postings for architecture roles have increased by 31.4% since June 30, with veterinary (+27.2%), industrial engineering (+19.8%) and software development roles (+18.6%) also showing strength.
While recent lockdowns haven’t had a large impact on national job postings, the impact is readily apparent at the occupational level. Job postings in restriction-sensitive occupations, such as food preparation, have fallen sharply since the end of June. By contrast, jobs that can easily be performed from home, or are otherwise not sensitive to lockdown, continue to perform strongly.
Most of the decline has been in New South Wales, which has offset gains across Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
Both New South Wales and Victoria have committed to lifting restrictions before the end of the year. That creates some upside for hiring activity but for the immediate future we’d expect recent trends to continue with postings stronger in states and occupations unaffected by lockdown.
All figures in this blog post are derived from seasonally-adjusted job postings. 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 geographics is seasonally adjusted separately. We adopted this new methodology in January 2021.
The national and regional analysis is based on the percentage change in job postings since February 1, 2020, our pre-pandemic baseline. Recently, we have compared occupational job postings against their level on June 30, 2021, to capture the impact of recent COVID-19 lockdowns.
This blog post 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.