Qld floods hit January job ads: ANZ

The effects of the Queensland floods reduced national job ads by around three quarters of a percentage point, according to ANZ data

February 7, 2011

The effects of the Queensland floods reduced national job ads by around three quarters of a percentage point, according to ANZ data.

The bank’s monthly Job Advertisements Series found the number of jobs advertised in major metropolitan newspapers and on the internet rose by 2.4 percent in January, to an average of 192,129 per week, seasonally adjusted.

This follows a 1.2 percent increase in December and marks the twelfth consecutive monthly rise in job ads, taking the number to 40.5 percent above that of a year ago.

This is the highest annual growth rate recorded since the inclusion of internet job ads into the series in July 2000 – but still 31.1 percent below the all-time peak achieved in April 2008. The previous peak of 40.4 percent annual growth in May 2007 was a time of particular tightness in the labour market.

Job ads in major metropolitan newspapers fell by 0.1 percent in January (or +0.6 percent flood-adjusted), following on from a 4.7 percent decline in December, while the number of job ads on the internet rose by 2.5 percent in January (+3.2 percent flood adjusted) – continuing the shift online, with internet job ads now 44.1 percent higher than they were a year ago.

On a regional basis, newspaper job ads fell in the Northern Territory (-10.0 percent), the ACT (-3.0 percent), Western Australia (-0.9 percent) and South Australia (-0.5 percent; but rose in NSW (+1.7 percent), Queensland (+1 percent) and Tasmania (+2.1 percent).

ANZ Head of Australian Economics and Property Research Ivan Colhoun says that even before taking account of the impact of the Queensland floods, the 2.4 percent rise in job ads in January was a "relatively healthy result".

"This suggests Australian labour demand remained reasonably solid in the latter months of 2010 in spite of some patchiness in a number of sectors of the economy," he adds.

"A noticeable slowing in newspaper job advertising in Queensland was evident in the week ending the 16th of January, with advertising mostly rebounding in subsequent weeks. February data will likely provide a clearer picture of the extent to which advertising in Queensland continues to be affected due to flooding.

"At this time, ANZ estimates that each of national newspaper, internet and total advertising growth rates would have been around three-quarters of a percentage point higher than the data presented in this month’s release."

Ahead of the release of official January labour force data on Thursday, Colhoun says ANZ does not expect the floods to have had a significant effect on this month’s data as employees not attending work due to the floods will still be counted as employed under the methodology used by the ABS.

ANZ forecasts a 35,000 increase in employment in January and a decline in the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent from 5 percent, he says.

"Markets are expecting a smaller rise in employment. We consider there to be significant upside risk to the market’s forecast and note that the markets have consistently tended to under-forecast employment growth over the past five years," Colhoun says.

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