Record number of Aussies hold multiple jobs

From the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

The proportion of employed people working more than one job increased to 6.5 per cent in the June quarter 2021, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This was 0.6 percentage points above the start of the pandemic and the highest since the series started in 1994.

Total jobs increased by 262,000 (1.8 per cent) in the June quarter, of which 167,000 were filled jobs and 95,000 were vacant jobs. This was prior to the recent lockdowns and other restrictions across large parts of Australia, and the 3.7 per cent reduction in payroll jobs through July (see Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages).

Multiple job holding

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The multiple job holding rate of 6.5 per cent in the June quarter was the highest seen across the 27 year series, and continued the rebound from the record low of 4.9 per cent in the June quarter of 2020″…

“The growth in multiple job holding coincided with a faster increase in secondary jobs, which increased by 1.4 per cent during the June quarter, compared with 1.2 per cent for main jobs.” Mr Jarvis said.

“Secondary jobs increased by 33 per cent over the 2020-21 financial year, from a low in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the June quarter of 2020. By June quarter 2021 they were 9 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.”

“However, analysis of both Labour Force Survey and Labour Account statistics suggests that while there are more multiple job holders, the average hours they work in their secondary jobs has decreased over the COVID period. Average hours worked by multiple job holders in their secondary jobs was 9.5 hours per week in June quarter 2019, 9.3 hours in June quarter 2020, and 9.1 hours in June quarter 2021.”

Proportion of vacant jobs

Prior to the pandemic, job vacancies accounted for around 1.5 per cent of all jobs. This fell to around 1.0 per cent in June quarter 2020, recovered to around 1.5 per cent in September quarter 2020, and has since risen to 2.6 per cent in June quarter 2021 (the highest in the Labour Account series).

“Job vacancies accounted for around 95,000 of the 262,000 increase in jobs in the June quarter 2021 – around 36 per cent. This proportionally large increase in job vacancies resulted in the proportion of vacant jobs rising sharply to 2.6 per cent, the highest recorded in the 27 years of the series.” Mr Jarvis said.

The proportion of vacant jobs was higher than pre-pandemic levels in all industries.

Hours worked

Hours worked increased by 1.8 per cent in the June quarter 2021, to surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time. The strongest increases in hours worked were seen in Retail trade, Construction and Accommodation and food services.

“By the June quarter 2021, hours worked were higher than pre-pandemic levels in 9 of the 19 industry divisions.” Mr Jarvis said.

Unconventional Economist
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    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      If I were working multiple jobs, I’d be hardly working in each one. Unless it was a job I enjoyed like certain well-paying customer service industries where burly hairy men such as myself are in demand.

  1. Isn’t this what the LNP want? A higher fraction of the time that warm bodies are alive dedicated to serving the machine, with extra machines to scoop more and more off the top of their productivity?

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Not quite. Extra machines might increase productivity. Aside from mining, I don’t think Australia is pursuing that road. At least not as much as countries like the US, where automation is relentless and merciless in industries such as oil/gas/manufacturing and many others.

      • Sorry, LD, I didn’t mean mechanical machines, but I understand how I wasn’t clear…I meant human systems that are either designed to extract wealth from people unfairly and directly or indirectly…

    • Or see
      Uber avoid 8 Billion of Tax in Oz over next few years.
      Uber makes almost no profit after profit shifting (but pays 20% of gross to disappear into Nether lands as “Interest charges”.Can’t they get a 2% mortgage?)

      Now the NSW govt is on a knife edge –
      If it gets 81 Million from Uber for payroll Tax,
      then low paid gig workers are classified as employees (that horrible Labor party policy).
      Federal Govt will have to step in and stomp on this NSW govt problem.

      So we have Govt tax savings subsidising our food deliveries !

  2. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    A worker doing long hours is a very inefficient worker. Given Australia’s hostility to automation outside of mining, this is an explanation for stagnating productivity per hour worked. As discussed here:

    You can bet that other nations are racing ahead with worker productivity per hour. The net result is poorer Australians. The only way out is to get in increasingly insane amounts of debt to buy real-estate.

    • You wouldn’t want to be a poor person in the US. If you see the misery they inflict on many parts of the world, you couldn’t expect them to treat their own people any better.

        • Doesn’t mean it’s not true.

          LA’s skid row you don’t even see anything like it in developing world cities.

          Forget China. Chinese cities a long way ahead, none of the abject poverty like in the US.

          • Lord DudleyMEMBER

            “Forget China. Chinese cities a long way ahead, none of the abject poverty like in the US.”

            The missing verb ‘are’ (i.e. Chinese cities are a long way ahead) is intriguing. Also, after the comma, you should really use ‘with’.

            The US has massive problems with poverty. This is true, and there’s a lot of people here trying to fix that. I’d also argue that in much of the US, low paid workers are now doing better than Australia. Sandwich shops in my area are now advertising $18 per hour PLUS health and dental. That’s about $25 per hour after AUD/USD currency conversion. Meanwhile, Australia is bringing in third world agricultural laborers… which is also what the US does, but at least the US’ laborers are technically illegal, whereas Australia’s low-paid laborers are fully endorsed by the government. So spare me the idea that it’s much better in Australia.

          • Australia doesn’t have widespread, abject poverty like the US. Few countries do. People fall hard in the US like no other country in the world.

    • “A worker doing long hours is a very inefficient worker…….
      You can bet that other nations are racing ahead with worker productivity per hour. The net result is poorer Australians. “

      Very true – hit a couple of hot buttons with me there LD. We have lost our way. I do miss the days where leaders would talk about nation building.

      • All our pollies think about is asset stripping and pocket lining – it really is just pathetic. Covid has provided a beautiful curtain to hide the treachery behind.

        • Jumping jack flash

          COVID has so much potential to fix all the world’s problems, but it is totally wasted on our glorious leaders with planet-sized brains.

  3. GonzificusMEMBER

    I’ve just accepted a second job offer, not because I needed the extra money but because I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of being involved in the juicy project. The money is better than what I am currently on with some nice bonusses along the way. I still won’t be able to afford a home for the family though. Maybe I’ll just spend the extra on some cases of nice whisky so I can enjoy myself while lamenting what Australia has become.

  4. Jumping jack flash

    I suppose with the rise of the gig economy it would be more prevalent.
    Just think of the household earning potential when everyone is working 2 or more jobs: Mild mannered engineer by day. Rideshare driver by night. What’s not to love?

    And then get the kids on board too! Instead of the cliched before-school paper route of yore, they can deliver food to people!

    And to think my daughter wanted to work in a mobile phone repair shop when she was old enough.
    I’ll tell her not to bother, just deliver food, it has that certain je ne sais quoi.

  5. I have been questioned for retiring early and moving to a simpler life in a prosperous regional town. I feel like a winner when I hear stories of how hard it is for so many to survive these days. For me, it was all about affordable housing which now is as rare as hens teeth. To fix thing, crash housing.

  6. Most IT/Tech individual contractors are doubling up on contracts (doing two contracts at once because no one can monitor them since everyone is WFH). And they are all making a killing. I suspect, the distribution of ppl doing multiple jobs is skewed heavily towards higher income rather than lower income.