Australian job vacancies are soaring

Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

There are plenty of job vacancies in Australia at present. Some 167,500, in fact.

According to the Department of Employment’s latest Internet Vacancy Index (IVI), the number of skilled job openings increase by 0.9% to 167,523 in May after seasonal adjustments, leaving the level of vacancies up an impressive 10.5% from 12 months earlier.

By number, vacancies now sit at the highest level seen in four years.

The IVI survey is based on a count of online job advertisements newly lodged on SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch during the month, with duplicate advertisements removed to ensure greater accuracy.

Though the vast majority of job postings are now placed online in Australia, the IVI does not capture vacancies that originate from sources such as employer websites, word of mouth and newspapers. It also does not take account multiple positions being advertised for a single job vacancy.

According to the government, vacancies rose in five of the eight occupational groups surveyed, led by 1.8% spike in openings for professional workers. In absolute terms, this category also recorded the largest number of vacancies at 46,058.

Compared to a year earlier, all eight categories recorded in an increase in advertised roles, led by machinery operators and drivers which surged by 14.6%. Jobs for managers, professionals and sales workers also increased by more than 10%.

By state and territory, vacancies increased everywhere bar South Australia and Tasmania in May. Of the states, Western Australia recorded the largest monthly increase at 2.2%.

While it outperformed over the month, it was the only state to record a drop in vacancies compared to a year earlier, falling 8.6%.

Over the same period, vacancies increased by more than 10% in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Impressive stuff, and suggestive that Australia’s economic transition is continuing to strengthen.

Here’s the full breakdown of vacancies by location and occupation, courtesy of the Department of Employment.

And here’s a map that reveals the change in vacancy levels across the 37 regions covered in the IVI survey. The darker the colouring the better. On that score, there are clear signs that strong labour market conditions — once limited to southeastern regions — are now spreading to other parts of the country.

In the minutes of the RBA’s June monetary policy meeting released earlier this week, the board stated that “forward-looking indicators for employment in the near term had been mixed, but overall they were consistent with moderate employment growth in the months ahead.”

The details of the May IVI report are entirely consistent with this view.

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