Job advertisements in Australia have plunged last month, indicating that job availability may slow down in the coming months.

The ANZ Bank’s Job Ads Index showed that total advertisements dropped by 1.7% to 175,660 in seasonally adjusted terms, totally reversing a 1.4% increase that was documented in May.

It was the fourth decline in the ANZ survey in the last six months, witnessing growth over the last year slow to just 6.9%, which is the weakest result in nearly two years.

The moderation in yearly growth in advertisements runs parallel with the sluggishness of employment growth that is being witnessed this year.

“The weakness for June indicates that the loss of momentum evident in employment growth this year will likely continue for some month,” remarked David Plank, who is the head of Australian Economics at ANZ.

“Further weakness over the next few months would be of significant concern and would potentially point to a lift in the unemployment rate.”

However, despite the moderation in job adds in 2018, Plank emphasized that does not necessarily indicate that Australian unemployment would soon skyrocket.

“It is important to note that job ads are still at a level consistent with continued jobs growth, just at a much lower level than occurred during 2017,” he says. “This does not rule out a further decline in the unemployment rate, though progress on this front is likely to be slow.”

Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to a six-month low of 5.4% in May as a massive number of citizens left the labour market.

Plank pointed to a number of labour market indicators such as business conditions, consumer sentiment and ABS job vacancies, which all point to a positive projection for employment.

The ANZ Job Ads Index was in stark contrast to job vacancies data published by the ABS last week that disclosed openings increased by 4.6% to 23,420 in the three months to May, leaving the increase on a year earlier at a mammoth 21.4%.

In contrast to the ABS survey which queries 5,400 employers every quarter, the ANZ measure makes use of data from Seek.com.au and the Department of Employment’s Australian JobSearch site, Jobsearch.gov.au.

Both sites deliver data from a select day that is considered to be “broadly representative of activity levels seen during the month”.

What they are trying to divulge is that in contrast to the ABS vacancies report, demand for workers is reducing. It also fits with the Australian government’s Internet vacancy series that is also indicating a slowdown.

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