A widely watched survey shows job ads fell again in November, hinting unemployment will rise further and increasing the prospects of an interest rate cut this week.
The ANZ monthly survey shows the number of job ads fell 2.9 per cent in November, following a 4.6 per cent drop in October.
It is the eight month in a row that jobs ads have declined, leaving the number of advertisements looking for workers at its lowest level in almost three years.
However, the unemployment rate has only ticked 0.5 percentage points higher from its most recent low in December 2010, to 5.4 per cent in October.
ANZ's head of Australian economics Ivan Colhoun says the fall in job ads is likely to translate into higher unemployment, particularly if the Reserve Bank does not lower interest rates further.
"Without a solid pick-up in the non-mining sectors as the mining investment boom winds back through 2013, the unemployment rate is set to drift higher to 5.75 per cent by mid-2013," he forecast in the report.
"Without further monetary policy easing, the unemployment rate may rise towards 6 per cent by the end of 2013." The bank's data on newspaper job ads can be broken down state-by-state, and shows that demand for workers was weakening most in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.
However, job ads rose a further 3 per cent in the Northern Territory, on the back of steep increases of 30-40 per cent in September and October.
Ivan Colhoun says the fall in job ads in the two main mining states over the past six months has been particularly sharp and concerning.
"Over this period, job advertisements in Western Australia have fallen, on average by 6 per cent each month and in Queensland the average monthly decline has been around 4 per cent," he observed.
"The decline in newspaper job advertisements in Western Australia has been particularly sharp over the last three months, falling a total of 22 per cent."