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Job Ad's Up in September 2009

published  First Published: 05/10/2009
Article written by: Nigel Brookson
The number of job advertisements has increased for a second consecutive month and at the strongest pace in almost two years, in a further sign the economy has passed through the worst of the global downturn and is now recovering, a survey shows.
The number of jobs advertised in newspapers and on the internet rose by 4.4 per cent in September, a survey by ANZ Banking Group published today said.
It was the strongest pace of increase since December 2007 and followed a 4.1 per cent improvement in August.
Job ads had declined for 15 straight months between May 2008 and July this year.
Signs of recovery
ANZ acting chief economist Warren Hogan said the September data was the best evidence to date that the labour market and the economy more generally was entering an "early recovery phase".
"Looking further ahead, today's numbers confirm our expectation that the pace of decline in employment will not be as severe as envisaged six months ago," Mr Hogan said in a statement.
"Australian economic activity has been remarkably resilient in recent months, particularly in some of our largest employing industries such as retail trade, health services, government and construction."
Ads still at low levels
Mr Hogan said that despite the recent pickup, total job ads were at low levels given they were still 44.9 per cent weaker than at the same time last year.
The number of job advertisements in major metropolitan newspapers rose by 3.7 per cent in September, while jobs ads on the internet grew by 4.5 per cent. Both measures were up for a second straight month.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the recovery in the job market was gaining traction.
"The job market still has plenty of climbing to do, but it is clear that it is ascending rather than descending the ladder," Mr Sebastian said in a research note.
Mr Hogan said rapid growth in the labour force, due to strong population growth and high levels of participation was the main cause of rising unemployment.
He said the deterioration in the labour market had featured "rising underemployment rather than rising unemployment", as managers cut back on employees' working hours rather than sack staff.
"Once the recovery commences, this process is likely to slowly reverse with working hours for existing employees creeping up again before total employment numbers begin to grow," Mr Hogan said.
"It may therefore take some time to see sustained net job growth again, even after indicators such as job ads turn up."
Unemployment rate steady
The national unemployment rate has been steady at 5.8 per cent for the past three months, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics due to release the September labour force data on Thursday.
The median market forecast is for the jobless rate to rise 0.2 percentage points to six per cent.
ANZ Bank expects the unemployment rate to peak at 7.25 per cent in the middle of 2010.
"In the near term, we expect to see a further deterioration in the labour market due to the very low level of demand for new labour, continuing job shedding and continuing strong growth in labour supply," Mr Hogan said.
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