Jobs ads tumble as slowdown bites: Economy roundup

If the Reserve Bank of Australia was looking for confirmation that its campaign against inflation is beginning to bite, a slew of weak job ad figures released today should be just the trick.

If the Reserve Bank of Australia was looking for confirmation that its campaign against inflation is beginning to bite, a slew of weak job ad figures released today should be just the trick.

Until recently the resilience of Australia’s jobs market, despite higher interest rates and slowing consumer demand, had led some to wonder just how real the economic slowdown was.

But last month we saw the unemployment rate rise for the first time in many months, and now it appears that trend is set to continue for some time to come.

The ANZ job ads series, SEEK employment index and Olivier Group job index all recorded a big fall in the number of job vacancies advertised be employers in June.

ANZ reports a 3% seasonally adjusted fall in job ads in newspapers and online, SEEK a 5.1% fall in the ratio of new job ads to job applications, and Olivier a 3.58% seasonally adjusted fall in ad numbers.

According to ANZ, there were falls of between 4.1% (NSW) and 6.8% (Vic) in all the big job markets, with only South Australia and Western Australia enjoying modest increases and, weirdly, Tasmania, which had a 16.6% rise.

The hardest jobs to fill were landscape architects, lawyers, navy personnel, radiographers and earth scientists, according to SEEK, while employers are being inundated with applications from packers and fillers, airline hosts, accounts payable staff, kitchen hands and call centre staff.

And if that’s not enough to please the gloom-sayers – not to mention those hoping interest rates will stay just where they are – the Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index fell to 40.3 in June, pushing it further below the 50 point mark separating growth from contraction.

On the markets today, at 12.20pm the S&P/ASX200 is down 2% on Friday’s close to 4980.1, thanks primarily to selling in financial and property stocks and some hangover from last week’s resources pessimism.

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