Signs the labour market is turning, with job ads registered by the ANZ Bank and the Olivier employment group, both showing the first upturn in more than a year.
The total number of jobs advertised rose 4.1% in August to an average of 130,326 per week, according to the ANZ Bank’s monthly survey.
Newspaper ads rose 5.5%, while internet ads grew by 4%. August’s rise followed a fall of 1.7% in July. It was the first rise since April 2008 and the strongest monthly growth since December 2007, when the credit crunch was gathering strength.
August’s total was still down 48.1% from a year ago.
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The Olivier Job Index, (which tracks positions vacant ads on commercial job sites) rose 2.43% in August, the first real growth since May 2008.
“These data provide the best evidence we have received to date that the labour market — and the economy more generally — are about to enter the recovery phase of this downturn,” said ANZ acting Chief Economist Warren Hogan in a statement.
But the monthly ad total, though, remains far below the level of a year ago, off about 48%.
“Most states experienced increases in newspaper job ads in August with Victoria (-15.2%) the only state to experience a fall. New South Wales (+24.1%) experienced the largest rise in percentage terms, followed by Western Australia (+10.2%), South Australia (+9.3%), the Northern Territory (+9.2%), the ACT (+7.8%), Tasmania (+4.3%) and Queensland (+1.2%),” the ANZ reported.
“The number of job advertisements in major metropolitan newspapers increased by 5.5% in August to an average of 8,613 per week. The number of internet job advertisements grew 4% to average 121,713 per week, and were 48.4% lower than 12 months earlier.”
Some economists see the ANZ’s figures in particular as a forward indicator of what happens in the monthly labour force figures. The August figures are out on Thursday.
”Looking further ahead, today’s numbers confirm our optimism that the pace of decline in employment will not be as severe as envisaged six months ago,” the ANZ’s Mr Warren said. “Australian economic activity has been remarkably resilient in recent months, particularly in some of our largest employing industries such as retail trade, health services, government and construction.”
The ANZ sees the jobless rate peaking at 7.25%, compared with the current figure of 5.8%. Some economists expect a small rise to 5.9% in Thursday’s release of the August figures.