Job ads spiked almost 15% on February 2020 levels, according to Indeed, but fresh unemployment data suggests not everything is rosy

  • Job listings continue to spike in the new year, says employment portal Indeed.
  • The company reports there were 14.7% more job postings on February 12, 2021 than there were on February 1 last year.
  • The figures are promising for Australia’s economic recovery, but new ABS stats, also released Thursday, raise new questions about the unemployment rate.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The quantity of job listings has spiked nearly 15% over 2020 levels, employment portal Indeed says, providing another indication that Australia’s economic recovery is powering up.

Indeed has reported 14.7% more job ads on its site on February 12 than at February 1 2020, after adjusting for seasonal fluctuations.

Current listings are somewhat down from the Christmas period, but are “consistent with the broad improvement in labour market outcomes,” the company said on Thursday.

The recovery in job listings follows the uneven steps each state and territory has taken out of the crisis.

The Northern Territory and Western Australia led growth in new job listings, with respective 31% and 27% increases compared to last February.

That trend correlates with each region’s relative success in mitigating the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, while an uptick in mining jobs potentially led to WA’s smash success.

Victoria, the state which endured the longest government-mandated lockdowns, managed a 13% growth in job listings over the timeframe.

Even the nature of Indeed’s new job postings spoke to market needs created by the pandemic.

Job postings for cleaning and sanitation roles, and spaces in the therapy sector, each rose by more than 62%.

Here for a long time, not for a good time

Those stats – and recent figures from competitor Seek, which revealed a 6.5% year-on-year job ad growth in January – would be well received by the Federal Government, which is preparing to end the JobKeeper wage subsidy payment, and strip the JobSeeker unemployment payment back to $3.57-a-week above pre-pandemic levels.

It argues the unemployment rate, which fell 0.2% to 6.4% in January, and a strengthening economy means its targeted fiscal measures can come to an end.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) states 877,600 Australians are still without work.

New figures, also released Thursday, suggest the make-up of Australia’s unemployed population is also changing.

Raw ABS labour force data shows that as of January 2021, around 220,000 Australians have been seeking work for more than a year.

That figure is not only 30,000 higher than the ABS tally for December 2020 – It marks the highest population of long-term unemployed Australians in years.

With economists expecting the end of JobKeeper to reflect some shedding in the jobs market, any genuine increase in job vacancies will surely be appreciated.

Whether those job listings help Australia’s longterm unemployed – who will soon return to unemployment payments dubbed a “complete betrayal” by social service advocates – is yet to be seen.