This map shows demand for workers in Australia's mining regions continues to improve

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Australian job openings fell for the first time in a year in September, according to the latest Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) released by Australia’s Department of Employment today.

However, the prospects for those seeking work in mining regions continues to improve.

In trend terms, the government said total online vacancies fell by less than 60 to 173,922, leaving the increase on a year earlier at 6.8%.

Over the month, openings fell in four of Australia’s eight states and territories, led by South Australia where they declined by 0.9%.

Losses were also recorded in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, offsetting gains in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and ACT.

Source: Department of Employment

From a year earlier, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland recorded the largest increase in openings at over 13%, likely reflecting an improvement in mining sector conditions thanks to higher commodity prices.

In comparison, vacancies in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT came in under the national average with growth of 2.1%, 6.1% and 1.9% respectively.

Tasmania, at 1.9%, was the only region to record a decline in openings over the year.

The improvement in economic conditions in mining regions is captured beautifully on this map, revealing the percentage change in vacancy levels over the past year using a three-month moving average.

The lighter the blue, the faster the increase has been.

Source: Department of Employment

Over the year, job advertisements increased in 27 of the 37 regions, with the strongest rises recorded in Far North Queensland (35.1%), Outback Queensland (+34.7%), Pilbara and Kimberley Western Australia (32.4%) and Central Queensland (30.3%),” the department said.

“However, these increases are off a low base and for all four regions the level of job advertisements remains below the level recorded five years ago.”

So labour market conditions are recovering, but they’re hardly back to the heydays of the mining boom’s peak.

By occupational grouping, vacancies for machinery operators and drivers, along with technicians and trade workers, grew the most over the year, logging increases of 16% and 12.3% respectively.

Openings for sales workers was the only category to decline over the same period, declining 4.7%.

Source: Department of Employment

The IVI is based on a count of online job advertisements newly lodged on SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch during a particular month.

The government says that it “does not reflect the total number of job advertisements in the labour market as it does not include jobs advertised through other online job boards, employer websites, word of mouth, in newspapers, and advertisements in shop windows”.

It also does not specify whether the vacancies are for full-time, part-time or casual staff.

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