Job ads stagnate but unemployment should hold steady: ANZ

imagesA widely-watched private index of job advertisements has shown demand for workers stagnating since late last year.

The ANZ job advertisements series recorded a 0.2 per cent rise in ads during March, led by a 0.4 per cent increase in online ads, offset by an 11.4 per cent slump in the now niche newspaper sector.

However, the relatively subdued March result has now dragged the more stable trend figure for job ads into the negative for the first time since October 2013.

Trend data showed job ads falling 0.2 per cent last month.

Overall, ANZ senior economist Justin Fabo said the trend has been pretty flat for several months now.

“The number of job ads has been broadly unchanged for four months now, signalling an easing in hiring intentions,” he wrote in a note on the data.

“To some extent this is unsurprising given the strong pace of jobs growth over much of 2015 and modest improvement in the unemployment rate”.

Unemployment to stay ‘within earshot of 5.75 per cent’

ANZ’s figures show that job ads are still up 10 per cent on levels seen a year ago, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Mr Fabo said a combination of global economic and financial market jitters early in 2016 and uncertainties around federal politics, such as the election timing, may have contributed to the recent caution in hiring new staff.

He added that volatility in the official Bureau of Statistics employment numbers has made the ANZ job ads measure more important as an indicator of the labour market.

“While the official figures show a modest fall in (measured) employment over the three months to February, this followed the fastest jobs growth over a three-month period since 2006,” Mr Fabo noted.

“Hiring is taking a breather, but we expect jobs growth to maintain enough momentum over the coming six months to keep the unemployment rate within earshot of 5.75 per cent.” To read more click here.

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