Australia just received another bullish indicator on the outlook for jobs growth

JAIME REINA / AFP / Getty Images

Australian online job vacancies increased for a thirteenth consecutive month in November, the longest stretch of uninterrupted gains since early 2011.

Yet another sign that the strength in employment growth seen this year will likely extend into early 2018.

The government’s Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) rose by 0.3% in trend terms during the month, leaving it up 8.5% over the year.

At 177,900, there are currently more online vacancies than at any point since May 2012. From the recent cyclical low of October 2013, they’ve increased by an impressive 27.3%.

Source: Department of Employment

By state, openings rose in Western Australia, the ACT, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland last month, offsetting declines in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Over the year, vacancies rose in every state and territory aside from Tasmania with the strongest increases recorded in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Source: Department of Employment

Delving deeper into those statistics, it’s clear that after a weak run in recent years, the most impressive growth in vacancies has been seen in mining regions, albeit off a low base.

Source: Department of Employment

By sector, openings increased in five of eight industries last month, led by a 1.1% increase in vacancies for technicians and trade workers, and clerical and administrative staff.

Apart from a 2.8% decline in opening for sales workers, vacancies increased in all other categories over the past year.

Source: Department of Employment

The IVI is based on a count of online job advertisements newly lodged on SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch during a particular month.

The government stresses that it “does not reflect the total number of job advertisements in the labour market as it does not include jobs advertised through other online job boards, employer websites, word of mouth, in newspapers, and advertisements in shop windows”.

It also does not specify whether the vacancies are for full-time, part-time or casual staff.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a mammoth 383,300 Australians found work in the 12 months to November, equating to an average increase of nearly 32,000 each and every month.

The annual increase was the second-largest on record, only surpassed by the 409,200 lift recorded in the year to August 2005.

In November alone, employment surged by 61,600, the largest increase since October 2015. As a result, a record 12.4 million Australians are in work.

Based on the trends in recent leading labour market indicators such as the IVI, NAB business survey, PMIs and ANZ job ads, the strength in hiring looks likely to continue into next year, albeit at a slower pace.

The Reserve Bank of Australia certainly thinks so with the minutes of its December monetary policy noting that “forward-looking indicators of labour demand suggested employment growth would be somewhat above average over the next few quarters”.

If these indicators are on the money — and they have been for a while — it’s hard to disagree.

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