A hike in the number of jobs advertised online is good news for the economy and labour market, a new report says.

The Labour Department's jobs online monthly report found strong growth in the three months to the end of May.

"The increase in job vacancies - in conjunction with other labour market data - indicates that employment prospects in the economy are improving and that the labour market is strengthening," the report said.

Key findings included:

* The number of advertised skilled jobs increased by 8.2 per cent while total advertisements increased by 7.5 per cent;

* Advertised skilled vacancies increased across most regions. Growth was the strongest in areas outside of the three main centres;

* South Island vacancies (excluding Christchurch) grew by 12.2 per cent and North Island vacancies (excluding Auckland and Wellington) grew by 11.6 per cent;

* Skilled vacancies increased across all industries. Growth was the strongest in construction and engineering followed by sales, retail, marketing and advertising then information technology.

The report said on an annual basis the number of advertised vacancies for skilled jobs was up 24 per cent. Job advertisements increased every month since June last year, when they were at their lowest point: skilled vacancies by 26.6 per cent and total vacancies by 29.7 per cent.

"Alongside positive employment growth, falling unemployment, and strong hiring intentions, Jobs Online shows that job prospects in the economy are improving. Despite the improvement, the number of skilled job advertisements in May 2010 remains 34.2 per cent lower than in March 2008, when the index was at its peak."

The total number of jobs advertised online continued to rise, up by 36.9 per cent since June last year and by 9.4 per cent over the last three months.

Employment Minister Paula Bennett said she was pleased to see strong and consistent growth in the number of skilled jobs being advertised.

- NZPA