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Australia: Job ads down

06 May 2013

The number of jobs advertised fell in April, but economists say it is too early to conclude that this is the start of a new downward trend, according to ABC News in Australia. ANZ's job ads survey showed the number of positions advertised fell 1.3% in April, following a 0.5% decline in March, seasonally adjusted. In total, ANZ estimates that 136,470 jobs were advertised in April. However, the more stable trend figures had job ads up a very modest 0.2%.

ANZ says April's fall was noticeable after a stabilisation in the first couple of months of the year, however the bank's chief economist (Australia) Ivan Colhoun says the timing of Easter and Anzac Day may have played a part and not been fully corrected for by the seasonally adjustment.

"As such, it is too early to conclude that job advertising has begun a renewed decline, though anecdotal reports suggest job advertising in mining and related construction activity continues to ease," he noted in the report.

Mr. Colhoun says very large falls in newspaper advertising in the two territories hint that seasonal factors may have distorted the result.

"Outsized declines in the month in the ACT and the Northern Territory (greater than -20% month-on-month), strongly suggest Easter and Anzac Day effects and the movements should be disregarded unless confirmed next month," he added.

While the two territories had unusually large falls, the newspaper jobs ads figures were also very weak in Queensland (-8.8%), Victoria (-6.1%) and South Australia (-5.7%).

Even though New South Wales saw a 2.5% fall in newspaper job ads over April, Mr Colhoun says he has been encouraged by the state's relatively solid economic performance in recent months.

"The most encouraging sign in the data remains the tentative improved performance in NSW, a development consistent across a range of macroeconomic indicators," he observed.

ANZ says its job ads figures are consistent with further modest increases in the unemployment rate.

The bank expects the unemployment rate to remain unchanged when the ABS releases its figures for April this Thursday, however it says joblessness is likely to rise over the next six months, prompting further official interest rate reductions.

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