There are signs Australia's record run of jobs growth is about to slow

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  • Growth in new job ads in Australia failed to rise for the second straight month.
  • Despite a “robust” labour market, ANZ says wage growth in Australia is likely to remain muted.

Growth in new job ads in Australia cooled off for the second straight month in March, a sign that Australia’s record rate of jobs growth may be losing momentum.

Data from ANZ shows new job ads were flat in March, after falling by 0.4% in February.

In annual terms, new job ads are 11.5% higher than the same time last year.

ANZ’s Head of Australian Economics David Plank said the recent data is indicative of a potential slowdown ahead, after Australia’s economy added a record 400,000 jobs in 2017.

“The level of job ads is consistent with continued strength in employment growth, though we do expect some slowdown in the pace in which jobs are added,” Plank said.

“Interestingly, after a period of employment growth overshooting growth in job ads, the two series appear to be converging once more.”

Plank said Australia’s labour market remains “robust”, noting there were positive signs for employment in NAB’s monthly business survey — which hit a new record high in February this year.

However, quarterly data in the latest jobs report showed there are still plenty of employed Australian workers who would like to work more hours. And that doesn’t bode well for a long-anticipated rise in wage growth.

“Businesses reported record conditions in February and the uptrend in capacity utilisation suggests that the unemployment rate will slowly grind lower through the year,” Plank said.

“The recent uptick in the unemployment and underemployment rate, however, shows that spare capacity is reducing only gradually indicating that wage growth is likely to remain muted for some time yet.”

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