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Job vacancy hits record high in March quarter

The total number of jobs vacant in Australia has reached record levels whilst the number of hours worked saw a decline.

10 June 2022 

The total number of jobs increased by 0.6% to 15 million jobs in the March quarter 2022, with the proportion of jobs that are vacant at a record high, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). There were 14.6 million filled jobs and around 420,000 vacant jobs.

Bjorn Jarvis, Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said the total number of jobs in the labour market reached 15 million for the first time in the March quarter 2022.

“The large increase in job vacancies over the pandemic meant vacant jobs accounted for 2.8% of all jobs, the highest proportion recorded since the series commenced in 1994. It’s now close­­ to double what it was before the start of the pandemic (1.6%),” he said.

“The high number of job vacancies shows the strong demand for workers across the economy, as businesses continued to respond to disruptions to their operations, together with labour shortages in all industries.”

However, while there was a 0.4% increase in filled jobs and a 0.8% increase in employed people in the March quarter, hours worked declined by 0.9%.

“The fall in hours worked over the quarter shows the combined effects of absences related to the Omicron variant and floods, together with higher than usual number of people taking annual leave in January,” Mr Jarvis said.­

There was also a decrease in the number of multiple job holders that dropped by 1.3% to 858,000, with the number of secondary jobs falling by 0.4% to 952,000.

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As a result, the multiple job holding rate decreased to 6.3% (from the series high of 6.4% in December quarter 2021).

Total hours worked in the March quarter 2022 were down 0.9% from December quarter 2021, to 5.3 billion hours. 

The industries with the largest decreases were other services (down 8.0%), financial and insurance services (down 6.7%), and wholesale trade (also down 6.7%).

The average hours worked per filled job also declined 1.3%. While average hours fell in most industries, increases were seen in agriculture, forestry and fishing (4.1%), accommodation and food services (1.7%), and transport, postal and warehousing (1.0%).

The industries with the largest increases in filled jobs were arts and recreation services, which rose by 6.6 %, and electricity, gas, water and waste services, which grew by 5.6%. In contrast, there were decreases of 7.0% in other services, and 3.0% in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The largest growth in job vacancies over the quarter was in wholesale trade (up 28.0 %), other services (26.7%) and public administration and safety (22.7%), while information media and technology recorded the largest decrease (down 11.9%). 

“While 2.8% of jobs were vacant across the whole economy, 4.8% of mining jobs were vacant (up from 3.3% two years earlier) and 3.8% of financial and insurance services jobs were vacant (up from 2.5% pre-pandemic),” Mr Jarvis said.

"Job vacancies were higher than pre-pandemic levels in all industries. This ranged between arts and recreation services (219% higher than March quarter 2020) and information media and telecommunications (30% higher)."

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