Say what you like about the reliability of Australia’s official jobs report released by the ABS, but when it comes to alternate labour market indicators, things are looking good at present.
Take the latest Internet Vacancy Index (IVI), released by the Department of Employment, as an example.
According to IVI, the number of skilled job openings increased by 0.9% to 169,599 in June after seasonal adjustments, leaving the level of vacancies up an impressive 11% from a year earlier.
By number, job vacancies advertised on the internet now sits at the highest level seen in four years, as demonstrated in the chart below, supplied by the Department of Employment.
As a lead indicator on labour market conditions, it suggests that modest hiring levels seen earlier this year may strengthen in the months ahead.
In June, vacancies increased in six of the eight occupational groups surveyed with the strongest growth recorded in openings for machinery operators and drivers which surged by 10.3%. That performance was mirrored over the past year with vacancies rising in six of eight occupational groups, again led by machinery operators and drivers, which rose by 29%, narrowly shading vacancies for labourers which gained 27.2%.
Adding to evidence that Australia’s economic transition towards services, residential construction and consumption is gaining traction, all states and territories, bar Western Australia, saw job vacancies increase from 12 months earlier.
Though small in number, vacancies in the ACT jumped by 23.3% from June 2015, narrowly shading a 22% jump in those in South Australia. New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania also recorded annual increases of more than 10%.
The table below, supplied by the Department of Employment, shows the monthly and annual change in vacancies by grouping and location, along with the total number of vacancies.
And here’s a map showing the annual change in job vacancies across the survey’s 37 individual regions, using a three-month average to smooth out volatility in the data. As shown by the lack of dark blue shading — indicating that vacancies have declined from the levels of a year earlier — previous strength in the Sydney and Melbourne labour markets now appears to be spreading to other parts of the country.
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, nor does it break down vacancies by full time or part time position.