Australian job advertisements jump 7.9% in May

Australian job advertisements climbed for a 12th straight month in May to reach their highest since 2008, suggesting demand for labour could withstand both a coronavirus lockdown in Victoria and the removal of some government support programmes.

Monday’s figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job ads jumped 7.9% in May from April, when they rose 4.9%.

At 213,894, ads were at their highest level since 2008 and up almost 220% on a year earlier when a national pandemic lockdown shut many industries. The latest shutdown in Victoria had yet to make an impact.

“The Victorian lockdown is unlikely to derail the state’s labour market recovery,” said ANZ senior economist, Catherine Birch.

“Even if we see some employment losses in June, as long as restrictions start easing from 11 June as currently planned, workers should be reinstated or find new jobs quite quickly, given the underlying strength in the labour market.”

Unemployment has fallen much quicker than policy makers expected to hit 5.5% in April, down from a pandemic peak of 7.5% reached in July last year.

ANZ see the jobless rate at 4.8% by year end and 4.4% at the end of 2022.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is aiming to drive unemployment down to 4% or even lower in the hope of finally lifting wage growth and inflation after years of tepid gains.

“What is still uncertain is the strength of the transition from lower underutilisation to higher wages growth, and then to inflation,” added Birch.