Australian Job Postings Through October 8: Postings Reach New Peak Ahead of Re-Opening
As Sydney and Melbourne prepare for re-opening, job postings have surged to a new pandemic peak. That’s great news for Australia’s economic recovery.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market.
While Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT have experienced extended economic restrictions, the overall impact on job postings was relatively minor compared with the lockdowns that occurred last year. Even better, job postings have rebounded sharply in anticipation of re-openings during October.
On October 8, job postings were tracking 57.4% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends. That’s up from 49.7% a fortnight earlier, with postings reaching a new pandemic high.
Growth was driven by a sharp rise in new job postings, that is postings that have been on the Indeed website for one week or less. New job postings are a stunning 69.4% above their level on February 1 last year, having increased from +45.2% a fortnight ago.
While lockdowns have obviously been detrimental to Australia’s economy, and are by no means over, the fact that job creation remained relatively strong and has rebounded so quickly is cause for optimism in what has otherwise been a harrowing situation. It suggests that employment may rebound sharply in New South Wales and Victoria as restrictions are eased.
Once again New South Wales leads the gains
The pick-up in job postings over the past fortnight was driven primarily by New South Wales and Victoria. Between them, the two states accounted for around 90% of the increase in job postings.
Postings in New South Wales are now 58.1% above their level on February 1 last year, up from a low of 39.5% in early September. Meanwhile, postings in Victoria are now 52.6% above their pre-pandemic level, reaching its highest level since mid-August.
Growth elsewhere has been more gradual, with the other states making steady improvement week after week. Postings outside of Australia’s two largest states are now 60.2% above their pre-pandemic level, led by Western Australia (+81.5%).
The impact of economic restrictions remains uneven
While Australian job postings have surged to a new pandemic high, the impact of recent economic restrictions persists for some occupations.
Job postings for childcare (-26.5%), cleaning & sanitation (-23.7%) and food preparation (-22.8%) have all declined considerably since June 30. Sports and beauty & wellness opportunities have also fallen sharply.
These roles, as well as some 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. Encouragingly, postings improved over the past fortnight for eight of the ten occupations who suffered the largest decline since mid-year.
There are also a range of occupations that have sailed through recent restrictions. Postings for veterinary roles (+44.1%), industrial engineering (+37.0%), architecture (+30.8%) and civil engineering (+30.3%) have grown strongly since June 30. Software development and mechanical engineering opportunities weren’t far behind.
Recent improvement in job postings suggests that the Australian economy is relatively well placed to rebound as restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria are lifted. Recent job creation has been dominated by those two states, as businesses prepare for re-opening.
Nevertheless, postings in many restriction-sensitive occupations, such as childcare and food preparation, remain well below their peaks earlier this year. It may take time for these occupations to regain lost ground given some of these sectors will be operating at reduced capacity for the foreseeable future.
If national postings continue to track strongly, or even head higher, then we’d expect that to translate into 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 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.