Labour Force Snapshot – July 2021

Labour Force Snapshot – July 2021 Top Line Recruiting labour force snapshot july 2021 727

HOBAN’s National Sales Manager, Andrew Green, reviews the state of the national labour force for July 2021.

  • Australia’s
    unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% in June 2021, reports ABS
  • The lowest
    unemployment figure in almost 13 years
  • More
    people giving up on finding work due to ‘economic reasons’

It’s that time of the month again where we see updates that give
us an insight into the state of employment across the nation with the release
of both The
Australian Bureau of Statics (ABS) Labour Force survey
and SEEK Employment
Report for July 2021

They both made for an interesting reading however, they did take
some time to digest and interpret. As you can appreciate while you read this,
we find ourselves navigating an ever-changing (and sometimes contradictory) climate.

First, let’s analyse the recent update from the SEEK Employment
Report for July 2021

At the national level, it’s not a surprise to see that rolling lockdowns
and restrictions across the nation saw SEEK post a 4.1% decline with month-on-month ad postings.

Job posting on the platform for July was up an impressive 67.9% last month when compared to July 2020 and applications
per post job ad continued to grow for a consecutive month, up by 2.6% compared to last month.

When looking at the state level, it’s interesting to see where the
changes are at locally. Victoria remained the only state to see an increase in
job ads (4.5%) compared to June,
where all other states and territories saw a month-on-month decline.

New South Wales also was the only state to see a decline compared
to the same month in 2019. Given the extensive lockdown in and around Greater
Sydney, it’s not a surprise to see the negative impact on job availability for
the region.

Next up, we’ll look at the key statistics collated
during the period by the ABS:

Unemployment rate

Decreased to



Increased to


Participation rate

Decreased to


Monthly hours worked

Decreased by


Underemployment rate

Increased to


Employment to population ratio

Decreased to


Data obtained from ABS ‘Labour Force, Australia July 2021’ Released 19/08/2021

In terms of employment type, it’s interesting to see that full-time employment decreased by 4,200 to 9,012,600 people, and part-time employment increased by 6,400 to 4,143,800 people (in seasonally adjusted terms). Overall there was only an additional 2,200 people gaining employment.

This could be a reflection of the impacts of the
start of the strict lockdown in Greater Sydney in July – taking into account
the statistics omit people that are no longer looking for work. You can
appreciate that the situation in Greater Sydney and New South Wales is going to
show a continuing of this trend into this month’s reporting period.

The chart below highlights the changes in monthly
hours worked across the country indexed back to March 2020. We can see the
varying performance of different states and territories around Australia as
they navigate the changing employment climate with rolling lockdowns and other

NSW has had a substantial drop in the number of
hours worked in a month to the tune of 40.5 million hours between June and July
this year – a very significant decrease in hours worked.

As the tale of two cities was true last month,
Victoria saw a bounce back to increased monthly hours showing the bounce back
from previous lockdowns. It will be interesting to see the results of this in
next month’s reporting based on the state falling back into lockdown.

Monthly hours worked index, states and territories, seasonally adjusted

Line Graph: Monthly hours worked index, states and territories, seasonally adjusted

Chart obtained from ABS ‘Insights into hours worked, July 2021’ Released 19/08/2021

The ABS gives context to the difference between the
high drop in monthly hours however still seeing a lowering unemployment rate.
People taking annual leave, holidays, LSL or other leave coming into 1,328,200
and ‘other reasons’ at 577,900.

However, the most interesting report is 646,000
people are were not in the workforce for ‘economic reasons’. The ABS defines
economic reasons as “…people reporting
having no work, not enough work or being stood down

The chart below shows the
increase in the reduction of monthly hours due to ‘economic reasons’ spiking
from June into July at the national level.

People working fewer than their usual hours, or no hours at all

Line Graph: People working fewer than their usual hours, or no hours at all

Chart obtained from ABS ‘Insights into hours worked, July 2021’ Released 19/08/2021

Putting it all together – what does it mean?

Reading the latest release for the Australian Bureau of
Statistics (ABS) and the SEEK Employment Report my mind wandered to a classic
piece of Australian Poetry from Monsignor Patrick Joseph Hartigan writing under
the pseudonym of John O’Brien.

He penned the classic “Said Hanrahan”.
Hanrahan is the classic country pessimist whose catchphrase is uttered to
anyone within earshot Sunday after church

“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”

The figures were collected and
collated during the period from 4 July to 17 July 2021 which coincided with
lockdowns in the greater Sydney area and the end of the fourth lockdown period
experienced by Melbourne. As of right now, the entire state of Victoria and
areas in New South Wales are dealing with lockdown scenarios. 

With our two most populated states
encountering challenging commercial conditions presently hence we shall not
have the counterbalancing effect.

“It’s looking crook, said young O’Neil”
At which sedate remark
He squatted quietly on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.”

…or is it?

The Australian economy has proved resilient it bounced back post initial COVID during the March quarter with the following outcomes:

  • The national economy grew by 1.1%
  • GDP grew 1.8% in the March quarter above expectations of 1.6%
  • The Australian economy was 0.8% larger than its previous record, prior to the bushfire crisis and pandemic onset in early 2020.

Deloitte Access Economics said at the time “…there were only five other reasonably comparable countries that could boast an economy bigger than it was prior to COVID-19.”

So, how do we fair considering the above? From the perspective of HOBAN, we are above and beyond our pre-COVID levels for contractors engaged at host client sites. We have seen a sharp increase in permanent recruitment across all sectors and a dramatic increase in enquiries from new customers.

HOBAN is able to service our clients through our ability to support working remotely and recruit in a safe, contactless method applying the use of technologies contained within our IT system.

You’ll need an agency that understands the market as well as we do. With over 50 years of local, proven experience, we are focused on providing custom staffing solutions that are right for you and your industry.

If you find yourself in need of any advice regarding the attraction of new candidates or need to take the next step with a staffing solution to grow your business please don’t hesitate to contact me on the below contact details.

Signature of Andrew Green

Andrew Green

National Sales
Manager | 0434 306 138

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