Reading much into Payrolls data confused by seasonal effects

The release by the ABS of the weekly Payrolls data up to 24th April might have been expected to provide some evidence of the impact of the end of JobKeeper. However, the fact that this data set is not seasonally adjusted, combined with the impact of the Easter holidays, means that it is difficult to tease out what, if any, the effect might have been.

While the Payrolls index nationally has rallied slightly in the week to 24th April (up from 101.4 to 101.9) this is still down from 103.1 a month ago. Queensland has seem a similar story with the index at 101.3 down from 102.4 at the end of last month. The 4-week average (that we use in the chart below in order to try and draw some comparison with the seasonally adjusted employment number from the monthly Labour Force Survey) appears to show a clear slide since the end of March but the effect of Easter may be responsible for some, or all, of this.


As the ABS themselves note in their media release…

“Seasonality around Easter in the previous fortnight makes it difficult to gauge any effect of the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy on 28 March. The latest fortnight of payroll jobs data continues to show some of the seasonality around school holidays.”

We will need to wait until the April Labour Force Survey release (20th May) before we can make any real determination about what effect the ending of JobKeeper might have had on employment.

The regional Payrolls data release due tomorrow will allow us to update Cairns.

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