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Australia – Job adverts fall for sixth consecutive month

09 September 2013

There are signs of further weakness in Australia's labour market, as the number of jobs advertised fell for the sixth month in a row. The latest ANZ job advertisements survey shows the number of positions advertised online and in newspapers fell by -2% in August. The number of job ads is now just +5% above the low point of  the global financial crisis.

Ivan Colhoun, chief economist at ANZ, commented: “Trends in job advertising continue to point to a softening in the labour market. Job ads and other economic indicators suggest little evidence of a pick-up in business confidence and hiring intentions, consistent with the unemployment rate continuing to trend modestly higher in the near term. However, it is worth noting that while job ads have continued to fall, the pace of monthly decline appears to have moderated a little in recent months.”

"There are a number of factors that are likely to see overall business conditions remain at relatively subdued levels, including the forecast contraction in mining investment and the relatively high exchange rate. However, there are now signs of improvement in some areas of the economy. Activity in the housing market has continued to improve. Further depreciation in the Australian dollar, which has fallen around -15% since mid-April should help to rebalance the economy away from mining investment-led growth toward a broader growth base,” he added. 

The average number of jobs advertised per week in Australia during 2012-13  was 141,111, down from 166,698 during 2011-12. Year-on-year the number of job adverts fell from a seasonally adjusted average of 154,569 in August 2012 to an average of 125,992 in August 2013.

Of Australia’s eight territories and states, only two reported positive growth in the number of jobs advertised in August compared with July 2013; New South Wales (+1.7%) and Tasmania (+5.7%). The biggest fall month-on-month was in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) down -16.2%, followed by Queensland with a -9.4% drop in jobs advertised.

An Australian Bureau of Statistics report due to be released on Thursday is expected by ANZ to announce that around 25,000 new jobs were created in August, a rebound following some recent weakness in employment. The unemployment rate is expected to have remained unchanged at 5.7%.    

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