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Australia – Job ads slip, hiring intentions uncertain

08 April 2013

The number of jobs advertised across Australia declined by a monthly -1.5% in March after reaching a five-month high in February, according to the latest ANZ Job Advertisements Series. The Australian banking group said a sustained pick-up in hiring activity remains uncertain.

The data also shows that the number of online job ads slipped by -1.6% in March, while those advertised in newspapers rose by +1.8%, reflecting different patterns ahead of the Easter holiday. Overall, the number of job ads was down by an annual -17% in the month.

ANZ Head of Australian Macroeconomics, Katie Dean, said: “After notable weakness at the end of last year, job advertising trends have shown signs of stabilising. Looking through the monthly volatility, job advertisements are now modestly higher than their levels three months ago. However, at this stage, it is too early to tell whether this indicates a sustained pick-up in hiring intentions.”

She said that due to heightened uncertainty about global economic and political developments at the end of last year, businesses may have held off from hiring staff. “This same reasoning is likely to have been behind the recovery in job advertising in early 2012 which did not last: job advertising deteriorated through the year,” said Ms Dean.

She added that “there is a degree of slack in the labour market” which is not yet evident in the official labour force numbers. ANZ now expects unemployment in Australia to drift higher but to remain unchanged at 5.4 % in March. “We forecast for there to have been 5,000 jobs created in the month,” Ms Dean said. 

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