Embargoed until 11:30am, Monday 14 January 2013
JOB ADVERTISING CONTINUED TO WEAKEN IN DECEMBERHighlights
The number of job advertisements on the internet and in newspapers declined 3.8% m/m in December,following a fall of 2.8% m/m in November. This was the tenth consecutive monthly decline and thenumber of job advertisements in December was the lowest since January 2010. The number of jobadvertisements declined by 16% over the year. In trend terms, job advertisements declined 2.8% m/m inDecember.
The number of job advertisements in newspapers is estimated to have declined 0.4% m/m in December.ANZ received only partial data for December newspaper job advertising in NSW and Victoria so estimateshave been used for the missing data. Any effect on the estimate of aggregate newspaper and internet jobadvertisements, however, is likely to be small given that newspaper job advertisements account for just4% of the total number of job advertisements. Newspaper job advertising increased in Queensland andWestern Australia during December, was broadly stable in Victoria and declined in the other states andterritories. We caution, however, that job advertising can be particularly volatile around the end of theyear, even after adjusting for typical seasonal patterns. In trend terms, newspaper job advertisingdeclined in all states, the exceptions being the Northern Territory and Tasmania.
The number of internet job advertisements fell 3.9% m/m in December after falling 2.8% m/m inNovember. Internet job advertisements were 15.3% lower over the year.
ANZ Head of Australian Economics, Corporate and Commercial Justin Fabo said:
Job advertising continued to weaken at the end of 2012. The number of job advertisements in Decemberwas 20% below the most recent peak in February 2012 and has fallen to almost half the level reachedbefore the global financial crisis.
Job advertising is a key barometer of economic activity and business confidence. Its ongoing weaknesssuggests that conditions for a large share of Australian businesses remain challenging and the outlookuncertain. In addition, job advertising trends in the resources states of Western Australia and Queenslanddeteriorated significantly over 2012 as commodity prices fell sharply. ANZ’s view is that the recent sharprise in iron ore prices will not see a commensurate rebound in job advertising in Western Australia asmining firms are expected to maintain a keen focus on cost reduction.
Without a solid pick-up in the non-mining sectors as the contribution to overall growth from mininginvestment shrinks through 2013, ANZ’s view is that Australia’s unemployment rate is set to drift higher toaround 5¾% from 5.2% currently by mid to late this year. The degree of spare capacity in the labourmarket, however, is already greater than the current jobless rate suggests, with labour force participationamong some key working age groups falling noticeably over the past couple of years. In part, this hasbeen because rising job losses have seen a higher share of jobseekers give up looking for work.
The ABS releases December labour force data this Thursday, 17 January. Trends in job advertising pointto a rise in the unemployment rate in the month after it declined surprisingly in November. ANZ expectsthe unemployment rate to have risen to 5.4% in December and for employment to have risen onlymodestly. Labour market conditions are expected to remain relatively soft in at least the near term, with