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Job ads down in December as staff shortages bite

Although there was a record gain in employment figures in December, there was a 5.5 per cent drop in job ads in December according to the latest ANZ Australian job ad.

Job ads down in December as staff shortages bite
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More than 360,000 people found employment during December according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and ANZ senior economist, Catherine Birch said this may have had a dampening effect on job ads.

Despite the fall of 5.5 per cent in month-on-month figures for December, Ms Birch said job ads were 4.2 per cent above the pre-delta-lockdown peak in June 2021 and 36.8 per cent above the pre-COVID level. 

“The 5.5 per cent drop in ANZ Job Ads in December was not necessarily a bad sign,” she said.

“ANZ Job Ads measures the total number of job ads (stock), rather than newly lodged job ads (flow). So if the number of advertised positions filled exceeds the number of jobs newly advertised during the month, the stock will fall.

“This seems to explain at least part of December’s ANZ Job Ads drop. A remarkable net 366,100 people found employment in November, a 2.9 per cent month-on-month gain.”

While not directly comparable, the National Skills Commission’s Internet Vacancy Index recorded a 0.6 per cent month-on-month rise in newly lodged job ads in November.

“It’s also possible that businesses have become more hesitant to hire due to the spread of Omicron and the consequent uncertainty around consumer behaviour and worker availability,” Ms Birch said.

“ANZ-observed spending data show new year spending was well down on the previous year, particularly in NSW. Looking ahead, we expect the job-switching rate to pick up in 2022.”

In November, 5.3 per cent of workers did not expect to be with their current employer/business in 12 months’ time due to changing jobs/seeking other employment, a post-GFC high.

“This may partly reflect some catch-up from people who delayed job changes during the pandemic,” she said.

“But with so much competition for labour and workers feeling secure in their jobs, we should see more people moving to better jobs and asking for larger pay rises in 2022, contributing to stronger wages growth.”

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