Job ads resumed their downward trajectory last month as internet advertising fell sharply.

According to the ANZ Bank’s Job Advertisements Series, released this morning, there was a 6.7% fall in job ads last month as a small rise in newspaper ads was swamped by a sharper than forecast fall in net ads. The report swamped the small 0.2% fall in May which had prompted analysts to wonder whether the long fall in ads had run out of steam.

Today’s figures show the total number of jobs advertised in major metropolitan newspapers and on the internet fell to a weekly average of 127,346 per week in June, 51.4% lower than 12 months earlier.

The number of job advertisements in major metropolitan newspapers increased by 0.9% in June to an average of 8,192 per week — 50.7% lower than in June 2008, the ANZ reported. The number of internet job advertisements fell by 7.2% in June to average 119,154 per week, and were 51.5% lower than 12 months earlier. The ANZ’s head of Australian economics, Warren Hogan said:

“With both the internet and newspaper series down by over half in the past year, this key leading indicator of labour demand suggests that hiring intentions by Australian business are still weak. Thus far however, this retrenchment in new labour demand has not shown up as a significant fall in the level of employment in the economy.

“Business may not be hiring but so far it appears that labour shedding has been quite subdued in comparison to previous economic downturns. Indeed, labour hoarding appears to be lasting longer in this economic downturn than in the past.”

Mr Hogan said the ANZ expects employment to fall by 32,000 in the number of people unemployed and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5.9% from 5.7% in May.