The number of job advertisements in Australia fell last month, suggesting that the steep deceleration in job growth seen in recent months is likely to last for some time yet.
According to the latest ANZ job ads survey, the number of job advertisements fell by 0.8% to 153,873 in April after seasonal adjustments, leaving the annual increase at 6.3%.
Although still higher than a year ago, ANZ notes that job postings have now been largely unchanged since October 2015.
The number of online advertisements slid by 0.7% to 151,481, leaving the number up 7.0% from one year earlier.
Newspaper advertisements — now a far smaller segment of the market compared to prior decades — fell by a steeper 6.2% to 2,392, seeing the decline from April 2015 at 22.6%.
The chart below, supplied by the ANZ, reveals the recent moderation in job postings.
According to Felicity Emmett, Australian head of economics at ANZ, the recent deceleration suggests that the economy has “lost some momentum” after a strengthening in the second half of the year.
“Hiring looks to be taking a breather for the time being, and further significant inroads into the unemployment rate may be more difficult to achieve in the near term,” said Emmett following the release of the April report.
“The moderation in job ads could alternatively reflect some uncertainty by firms around the near term outlook, given the prospect of a double dissolution election in July, or a general softening of the economic outlook.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release its April jobs report on May 19.
In March, employment increased by 26,100, the first solid rise in jobs growth since late 2015. As a result of the increase in employment and lower labour force participation, the national unemployment rate fell to 5.7%, the lowest level recorded since September 2013.
Despite the rise in employment and fall in the unemployment rate, the RBA noted in its May monetary policy statement that “labour market indicators have been more mixed of late”, fitting with recent weakness in the ABS data and other surveys, including that from the ANZ.