Drop in job ads points to softer labour market

"Increases in house prices likely to support a pick-up in the construction industry", says ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun.
"Increases in house prices likely to support a pick-up in the construction industry", says ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun.

Australian job advertisements are almost at their lowest point since the global financial crisis, suggesting subdued business confidence and a softening labour market.

The number of job ads posted on the internet and published in newspapers fell 2 per cent in August, seasonally adjusted, the latest ANZ Job Ads Survey found.

After six consecutive monthly declines, job ads are now 5 per cent above the lowest level reached during the global financial crisis.

ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun said the figures pointed to a softening in the labour market.

"Job ads and other economic indicators suggest little evidence of a pick-up in business confidence and hiring intentions, consistent with the unemployment rate continuing to trend modestly higher in the near term."

Colhoun said that while job ads continued to fall, the pace of decline had moderated.

Although contraction of mining investment and the high Australian dollar would see business conditions remain subdued, there were signs of improvement in the economy.

"Activity in the housing market has continued to improve recently, with increases in house prices likely to support a pick-up in the construction industry, traditionally a large employer," Colhoun said.

"Further depreciation in the Australian dollar ... should help to rebalance the economy away from mining investment-led growth towards a broader growth base," he said.

"There is potential for a pick-up in sentiment following the election but whether this will be sustained is a key question."

- AAP

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