Australian Job Postings Through October 22: Reopening Driving Record Hiring
Rapid hiring growth, driven by the reopening of the Sydney and Melbourne economies, points towards further tightening of the Australian labour market.
We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market.
Australian job postings continued to surge upward, following the recent decision to reopen Sydney and Melbourne. Postings began to rise in anticipation of reopening and are showing no signs of slowing.
On October 22, job postings were tracking 71.2% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends. That was both a new record high and the strongest fortnightly increase in postings in twelve-months.
Growth continues to be driven by the 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 an incredible 85.8% above their level on February 1 last year, having increased from 48.4% at the end of September.
While lockdowns have obviously been detrimental to Australia’s economy, 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 points towards strong employment growth in both New South Wales and Victoria, and to a lesser extent the rest of Australia. Further tightening of the labour market is also likely.
New South Wales and Victoria drive growth
The pick-up in job postings over the past fortnight was again driven by New South Wales and Victoria. Between them, the two states accounted for around 90% of the increase in overall job postings.
Postings in New South Wales are now 75.3% above their level on February 1 last year, up from a low of 39.5% in early September. Meanwhile, postings in Victoria are now 76.6% above their pre-pandemic level.
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 64.7% above their pre-pandemic level, led by Western Australia (+80.1%).
Lockdown lingers for some occupations
While the impact of recent lockdowns has diminished, postings remain below their mid-year level for a small number of occupations. These include childcare (-12.6%), cleaning & sanitation (-10.9%), logistics support (-7.5%) and food preparation (-7.5%).
These roles, as well as some others, have been 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 many lockdown-sensitive occupations, including education, beauty & wellness, hospitality & tourism and sports. Gains were also reasonably strong for food preparation and childcare roles, albeit not strong enough for postings to completely regain lost ground.
There are also a range of occupations that have sailed through recent restrictions. Postings for industrial engineering roles (+46.1%), veterinary (+44.5%), education (+38.2%) and agriculture (+36.4%) have grown strongly since June 30.
Recent improvement in job postings point towards a further tightening of Australian labour market conditions. Recent job creation has been dominated by New South Wales and Victoria, suggesting that labour market conditions and economic activity will close the gap on the rest of Australia.
Nevertheless, postings in some restriction-sensitive occupations, such as childcare and food preparation, remain below their peaks earlier this year. Many businesses are still operating at reduced capacity and that could limit their ability to expand payrolls and hire more staff in the near-term.
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.