If you're looking for work, you best head to Australia's eastern states

The number of Australian job ads posted online barely changed in the 12 months to July, indicating that labour market conditions are likely to remain relatively subdued in the months ahead.

According to the the federal government’s internet vacancy index (IVI) report released earlier today, the number of job vacancies stood at 153,500 in July, a decrease of 0.2% on levels of a year earlier.

Vacancies remain some 49.8%, or 152,600, below the index peak of March 2008.

Of the eight occupational groups that make up the IVI, five saw vacancies increase over the year while three recorded declines.

Fitting with the belief that activity across Australia’s services sector is now accelerating, vacancies for professional services recorded the strongest annual increase at 5.7%. Those for clerical/administration, managers, sales and community/personal services increased by 3.8%, 2.1%, 2.3% and 0.7% respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, and reflective of the economy’s transition away from the mining infrastructure boom, vacancies for labourers, machine operators/drivers and technician/trade workers slipped by 20.7%, 13.8% and 2.8% respectively.

From a state and territory perspective, ex-Queensland, a clear divide is emerging between the eastern states compared to other parts of the country.

Vacancies in New South Wales grew by 4.2% while those in Victoria increased by 5.6%. Those in the ACT jumped by 21.8%, the highest of all the states and territories.

Elsewhere vacancies in mining states fell heavily with Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory recording declines of 12.6%, 15.7% and 17.8% apiece.

Those in Queensland fell by a more-modest 1.0%.

The table below breaks down the availability of vacancies from an occupational and regional perspective.

While there is a growing belief that Australia’s unemployment rate may be close to peaking, or has peaked already, the lack of growth in vacancies suggests any future decline in unemployment – at least based on the current trend – will be very gradual in nature.

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