ABS: Floods and Omicron slow down payroll jobs growth

Accommodation and food services have been impacted the most because of Omicron

ABS: Floods and Omicron slow down payroll jobs growth

The number of payroll jobs declined 0.6% in the month to March 12, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), as the country continues to post "weaker" growth in payroll jobs due to various factors.

Payroll jobs, which are not seasonally adjusted, are predominantly employee jobs paid through payrolls.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said there were differences across fortnights in payroll job figures.

"There were differences across the fortnights, with payroll jobs falling by 0.8% in the second half of February and then rising slightly, by 0.2%, in the first half of March," said Jarvis in a statement.

According to Jarvis, the changes coincided with the adverse weather conditions and flooding in New South Wales and Queensland in later February.

These changes also came amid the COVID-19 Omicron variant and lifting of pandemic restrictions in the country.

"Given the disruption to business operations from the weather and Omicron infections, the increase in payroll jobs in early 2022 continued to be weaker than in both 2020 and 2021, particularly over the last month," he commented.

Read more: Payroll goes digital & superbad calls out gaps

By location, payroll jobs decreased in five states and territories during the period, with the largest ones recorded in New South Wales (1%) and Tasmania (0.9%).

"Over three-quarters (75.4%) of national payroll job losses in the month to mid-March were in New South Wales and Queensland. This was greater than their total share of payroll jobs, which is usually around half of all jobs in Australia (51.4%)," explained Jarvis.

Because of the flood due to the adverse weather conditions, regions in New South Wales and Queensland saw larger falls in payroll jobs in late February 22.

In terms of increase, however, the Northern Territory had the largest one with 0.6%.

By industry, the ABS said that payroll jobs fell in 14 out of 19 industries.

The largest decreases were reported in the Construction with 2.7%, and Retail trade with 2.5%, according to the ABS.

For construction, its drop contrasted with its previous rise of 0.7% the year before, while in retail trade, the fall was over three times greater than the same period reported in 2021.

The Omicron's effect was also visible in the accommodation and food services industry, which saw its payroll jobs in mid-March 2022 five per cent lower than the start of the pandemic in every state and territory, except in the Northern Territory.

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