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Sunsuper Australian job index down 40% since January

23 July 2020

Key points

  • After recording its largest ever fall in April, the Sunsuper Australian Job Index of digital job advertisements rose by 9.4% in May and 10% in June. Despite these gains, the index still recorded a fall of 24.7% in the June quarter and remains 40.3% below its January 2020 level.
  • After a 35.6% fall in April, permanent job opportunities rose by just 5.2% in May and a more encouraging 10.5% in June. The recovery in contingent demand has been stronger, with gains of 19.5% in May and 9.0% in June.
  • Sales workers recorded the greatest declines in job opportunities (down 44.1%), while opportunities for labourers rose by 0.9% and community and personal services opportunities declined by a relatively modest 3.7%.
  • A 267% jump in accommodation and food services job opportunities over May and June reflects the industries hardest hit by COVID beginning to re-open but leaves the number of such opportunities 47.8% below their pre-COVID peak. 
  • The strongest performing sector over the June quarter was mining, construction and utilities, reporting a decline of just 3.2%. Retail and wholesale job opportunities reported the largest decline (down 45.9%).
  • NSW saw the most significant decline in permanent job opportunities (32.4%) while Victoria suffered the largest fall in contingent hiring (down 33.8%). 

 

The latest Sunsuper Australian Job Index of job advertisements online has today revealed that despite gains in May and June, the index remains 40.3% below its January 2020 level.

Sunsuper’s Chief Economist, Brian Parker, said that while the improvements in job vacancies in May and June were a promising sign, the ongoing impacts of COVID, including renewed shutdowns, had employers nervous.

“The reintroduction of restrictions in Victoria and the risk of renewed restrictions elsewhere means the recovery in the labour market remains fragile,” said Mr Parker. 

“Opportunities for both permanent and contingent employment still remain well below pre-COVID peaks; however, the recovery over May and June has been somewhat stronger for contingent work. Permanent job opportunities rose by just 5.2% in May and a more encouraging 10.5% in June, yet the recovery in contingent demand has been stronger, with gains of 19.5% in May and 9% in June.”

Mr Parker highlighted that when split by job type, unsurprisingly one of the better performing occupational categories was community and personal services. 

“Demand fell just 3.7% over the quarter, driven by a remarkably bullish 37.7% rise in June, which coincided with the recommencement of elective surgery and the re-opening of allied medical businesses.

“Contingent opportunities for machine operators and drivers and labourers reported net gains over the quarter. While sales roles were the worst hit, down a massive 44.1% over the quarter.

“Machinery operators and drivers were the only occupational group to experience a rise in permanent job opportunities in the quarter (19.4%).

“All industry groups reported declining opportunities over the June quarter. The strongest performing sector was mining, construction and utilities, reporting a decline of just 3.2% over the quarter with commodity prices and demand remaining strong.

“Opportunities in healthcare and public administration and safety also reported relatively modest declines of around 14% over the June quarter, and retail and wholesale job opportunities reported the largest decline (down 45.9%).

“June saw quite a significant bounce back in financial and insurance services opportunities (38%).

The Sunsuper Australian Job Index also found that New South Wales has seen the most significant decline in permanent job opportunities (down 32.4%) while Victoria had the highest fall in contingent job vacancies (33.8%).

“With such a strong focus on tourism, one might have expected Queensland’s falls to have been above the national norm. But this has not been the case. This may be because of the time of year that the virus spread. Queensland’s strength in the resources sector may also have helped soften the impact.”

The Sunsuper Australian Job Index is the first and only Australian jobs report to split data between permanent and contingent (i.e. temporary, fixed-term contract and casual) job vacancies. For a full copy of the report, visit sunsuper.com.au/australianjobindex.

 

Ends

 

Media enquiries
Rebecca Chivers
0439 805 589
rebecca_chivers@sunsuper.com.au


About the Sunsuper Australian Job Index
The Sunsuper Australian Job Index measures and tracks digital job advertisements across more than 4,000 sources including job boards, employer career portals and recruitment company web sites. Following on from the Fund’s merger with Kinetic Super in May 2018, Sunsuper (ABN 88 010 720 840) took over the Kinetic Job Index Report. The Kinetic report previously only used contingent job data, whereas as the Sunsuper Australian Job Index now reports both permanent and contingent trends.