Australian job advertisements grew strongly in January, adding to signs that business conditions are picking up following the release of the National Australia Bank’s monthly business survey last week.
According to data released by the ANZ, job advertisements surged by 4% to 167,164 last month, more than reversing a 2.2% drop reported in December.
It was also the largest monthly increase since September 2015, a period that just happened to coincide with strong labour market hiring in the latter parts of that year.
Advertisement numbers have now grown in five of the past six months.
As a result of the bounce in January, the year-on-year increase accelerated to 7.1%, a sharp improvement on the 3.7% pace a month earlier.
“The solid rise in ANZ job ads in January is consistent with the increase in business conditions and confidence reported last week,” said Felicity Emmett, senior economist at ANZ.
“The bounce in conditions, ongoing strength in house prices and last week’s mammoth trade surplus, suggest to us that the underlying fundamentals of the economy remain solid despite the disappointing Q3 GDP report.”
In December, the NAB reported that business conditions surged, leaving them at the healthiest levels seen since the middle of 2016 on the back of improved readings on profitability and trading conditions.
Optimism was further bolstered by the release of Australia’s trade report for December, which revealed a monthly surplus of $A3.5 billion, the largest on record.
According to Emmett, the bounce in job ads, along with modest increases in other leading indicators, “lends support to our view that although momentum in the labour market has slowed, it remains strong enough to underpin a gradual decline in the unemployment rate this year”.
The ANZ series counts the average number of advertisements carried by Seek.com.au and the Department of Education’s site, Jobsearch.gov.au, for a particular day “that is representative of activity levels seen over the broader month”.
It does not include advertisements placed on job bulletin boards, workplace intranets and from word of mouth.
It is therefore a useful guide as to the trend in advertising seen in a particular month, rather than the total level of job openings in Australia.
Attention will now turn to the release of Australia’s January jobs report from the ABS on Thursday, February 16.
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