Demand for workers in some Australian mining regions is starting to improve

Photo: iStock

Online job advertisements in Australia rose for a fifth consecutive month in February, according to the latest Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) released by the government earlier today.

And there’s signs that labour demand may be picking up in some of the nation’s mining regions.

The Department of Employment said that online advertisements rose by 0.1% to 167,100 in trend terms, leaving the increase on a year earlier at 2.2%.

The IVI is now 19.6% higher than the cyclical lows struck in October 2013, although the annual pace of growth is still well below the near-10% levels seen in mid-2016.

The IVI is based on a count of new online job advertisements placed on SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch in a month, and does not include jobs advertised through other sources such as employer websites, word of mouth, newspapers and advertisements in shop windows.

Nor does it reveal the breakdown between full-time and part-time roles.

Over the month, advertisements rose in seven of the eight occupational groups, with the largest percentage increases recorded for machinery operators and drivers, technicians and trade workers and managers.

From a year earlier, advertisements increased in all groups aside from sales workers and managers, with the strongest increases coming for machinery operators and drivers.

This table from the Department of Employment shows the monthly and annual percentage change in advertisements by occupational group, along with total advertisements placed.

Source: Department of Employment

By state and territory, advertisements increased in four states, led by South Australia where they grew by 1.3%. Those in Western Australia also increased by more than 1%, adding to recent evidence that firmer commodity prices may be encouraging a pickup in mining-orientated sectors.

Source: Department of Employment

From a year earlier, South Australia also outperformed with advertisements lifting by an impressive 13.5%. Those in the ACT grew by 5.8% while smaller increases were recorded in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Advertisements fell modestly in New South Wales and Tasmania, and plunged by 16.5% in the Northern Territory.

This map from the Department of Employment shows the annual change in advertisements by region using a three-month moving average to reduce volatility in the data.

Twenty-seven of the 37 regions recorded a lift in advertisements, including many associated with the mining sector.

Source: Department of Employment

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