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Analysis of job advertisements across the continent revealed that there were 165,643 job ads placed in February 2017, down 0.7 per cent on the previous month (seasonally adjusted). This followed a solid rise of 3.9 per cent in January.
On an annual basis, this brings job ad growth to 6.9 per cent year-on-year, down from 7.1 per cent the month before.
Further, ANZ Research found that the trend growth in job ads eased to 0.4 per cent in February, after averaging 0.6 per cent month-on-month growth over the last eight months.
The annual trend growth rate now stands at 6.6 per cent, up from 6.1 per cent as at the end of January.
Despite the reduction in the number of jobs being advertised, the head of Australian economics at ANZ, David Plank, said that he expected unemployment to drop later this year.
He commented: “After a strong rise in January, job ads fell slightly in February. Some moderation in job ads is not unexpected given the strong January result and may reflect the tricky nature of seasonal adjustment at this time of the year.
“The unemployment rate has been stuck at around 5.75 per cent since early 2016. Moreover, much of the employment growth over 2016 has favoured part-time rather than full-time jobs, implying a considerable degree of slack in the labour market. This is likely to weigh on wage growth and has the potential to delay the return of underlying inflation into the 2-3 per cent target band beyond late next year…
“Looking ahead, strength in business conditions, firms’ profitability and an increase in capacity utilisation all point to an improvement in labour market conditions in our view. Overall, we expect the unemployment rate to slowly edge downward through 2017.”