Australian Job Postings Through September 24: New South Wales Postings Bounce Back
Despite lockdown, postings rebound in New South Wales, pushing national postings to a two-month high. That’s a strong sign ahead of restrictions easing later this 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 24, job postings were tracking 49.7% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends. That’s up from 45.1% a fortnight earlier, with postings reaching their highest level in two-months.
While lockdowns have obviously been detrimental to Australia’s economy, and are by no means over, the fact that job creation remains relatively strong is a cause for optimism in an otherwise depressing situation. It suggests that employment may rebound sharply in New South Wales and Victoria when restrictions are lifted later this year.
New South Wales leads the gains
The pick-up in job postings over the past fortnight was driven primarily by New South Wales. Postings in New South Wales are now 49.7% above their level on February 1 last year, up from 41.3 two-weeks ago. That translates into around 60% of the increase in national job postings over the past fortnight.
Nevertheless, job postings in New South Wales as well as Victoria, continue to lag behind the rest of Australia. Postings outside of Australia’s two largest states are now 58.3% above their pre-pandemic level, led by Western Australia and Queensland.
The impact of economic restrictions remains uneven
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 childcare and food preparation are both down by around one-third since June 30. Cleaning & sanitation (-29.7%) and beauty & wellness (-26.6%) have also suffered sizable declines.
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 veterinary roles, a relatively poor performer earlier this year, have increased by 46.6% since June 30. Postings for architecture (+31.1%), civil engineering (+30.8%) and industrial engineering (+23.4%) have all grown strongly.
While postings have recently improved, driven primarily by New South Wales, the impact of the recent extended lockdowns remains apparent in occupational postings. Job postings in restriction-sensitive occupations, such as food preparation, have declined considerably since the end of June. By contrast, postings for a range of jobs that can be easily performed remotely or are otherwise not sensitive to lockdown, continue to grow strongly.
Both New South Wales and Victoria have committed to lifting restrictions before the end of the year. That’s welcome news for both households and businesses. If that comes to pass, we’d expect to see hiring recover in those restriction-sensitive occupations. And if national postings continue to track so strongly, we’d expect that to flow through to higher employment and a further tightening of labour market conditions.
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.