Job ads in Australia grew steadily in March

Photo by S. R. Gaiger / Topical Press Agency / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Australian job advertisements rose slightly in March, offsetting a fall in February and the poor trend in recent employment data.

According to data from ANZ, job advertisements increased by 0.3% (seasonally adjusted) in March, reversing the fall of 0.8% in February. The March figures pushed the yearly growth in job advertisements to 7.0% (up from 6.9% in February).

Job ad listings have now grown in 6 of the last 8 months as part of a broad upward trend since 2014.

David Plank, the head of Australian Economics at ANZ said that “while somewhat at odds with recent employment data, the improvement in job ads is consistent with other forward indicators such as our Labour Market Conditions Index and solid business conditions. As such, we continue to expect a gradual improvement in labour market conditions through 2017.”

The ANZ job ads data collates the total average weekly number of advertisements across newspapers and the internet.

Trend analysis shows that the movement in job ads data tracks consistently with employment growth, as shown here:

While the growth in job advertisements was stable, ANZ cited that risks remain around wages growth. Wages figures for the December quarter revealed the lowest yearly increase on record.

“If weak income growth persists it may have implications for consumer spending given the already high levels of household debt and the rapid decrease in the household savings rate over the past two years,” the bank said.

“More recently, we note that our measure of households’ confidence in their future finances has fallen to its long term average. This could have implications for consumer spending, especially if income growth continues to be weak.”

Further backing up that analysis, data released by the ABS this morning shows that Aussie retail sales came in well under expectation. February retails fell by -0.1%, below the consensus forecast of 0.3% growth.

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