Regional job vacancies top 50,000 in September
Dr Kim Houghton, RAI Chief Economist
In September 2020, there were over 50,000 job vacancies advertised across regional Australia, a new record for the regions. This was an 11 per cent increase from the 45,600 job vacancies advertised in August 2020. In September 2020 total vacancies in regional Australia as a whole were 5% above the same month last year, above vacancies 12 months ago for the first time since the pandemic was declared. There has been steady growth in regional vacancies since the low in April 2020.
Importantly, a clear majority of the 32 regions outside the mainland state capitals are now showing vacancy numbers above September 2019. The regions still lagging the levels of 12 months ago are mostly in regional Victoria, Far North Queensland, Outback Queensland and Southeast Tasmania. The regions with the biggest increases are summarised below, led once again by Dubbo and Western NSW now over 70% above where they were in September 2019 with over 1,350 vacancies advertised in September 2020.
The monthly increase in regional vacancies (11%) was the slightly above the 10% increase seen in the mainland capital cities, which is good news, but overall vacancy numbers in the cities are still well below (-27%) where they were a year ago while the regions overall are 5% higher. The continuing divergence between the regions and the mainland state capitals shows the resilience in many regional labour markets and the variation in the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on different places.
|Number of advertised job vacancies||Sep 2019||Aug 2019||Sep 2020||% change Sep 2019 to Sep 2020||% change Aug 2020 to Sep 2020|
|Regional NSW (excl. Sydney)||12,959||14,148||16,205||25.0%||14.5%|
|Regional VIC (excl. Melbourne)||6,347||4,936||5,184||-18.3%||5.0%|
|Regional QLD (excl. Brisbane)||14,270||13,412||14,900||4.4%||11.1%|
|Regional SA (excl. Adelaide)||1,058||1,155||1,299||22.7%||12.4%|
|Regional WA (excl. Perth)||3,680||3,926||4,314||17.2%||9.9%|
|Mainland State Capital Cities||131,249||86,771||95,563||-27.2%||10.1%|
A total of 22 of the 32 regions outside the mainland capital cities are now showing vacancy levels above where they were in September 2019. The five regions which show the biggest increases over the 12 months are:
- Dubbo & Western NSW with 73% more vacancies in September 2020 than September 2019
- South West WA with 45% more
- NSW Southern Highlands & Snowy with 44% more
- NSW Tamworth & North West with 35% more
- NSW Riverina & Murray with 31% more
Monthly changes in the index can be quite volatile, and the five regions with the biggest jumps from August 2020 to September 2020 were:
- Dubbo & Western NSW up 17%
- South West WA up 16%
- NSW North Coast up 16%
- SA Fleurieu Peninsula & Murray Mallee up 16%
- Toowoomba & South West QLD up 15%
Most vacancies in the regions are still for highly skilled trades and professionals including automotive, engineering and construction trades, medical practitioners and nurses, health diagnostic and therapy professionals, legal, social and welfare professionals as well as general-inquiry clerks, call centre workers, receptionists, carers and aides.