Job ads fall again in December

The number of jobs advertised fell in December, the tenth straight monthly decline, taking job ads to their lowest level in almost three years.

ANZ's monthly job ads figures fell 3.8 per cent last month, following on from a 2.8 per cent decline the month before.

The report finds that the number of jobs advertised declined 16 per cent during 2012, and is now at its lowest level since January 2010.

ANZ says the level of job advertising in Australia is 20 per cent down on the most recent peak in February last year, and almost half the peak reached before the global financial crisis.

Somewhat unusually, the fall in internet job ads was significantly greater than the decline in newspaper ads during December.

The number of ads on the internet fell 3.9 per cent, while newspaper ads were estimated to have fallen 0.4 per cent, although ANZ said it had to use estimates to replace some missing data in the newspaper figures.

The bank noted that there had also been a big drop in advertising in Queensland and Western Australia as commodity prices dropped last year.

"ANZ's view is that the recent sharp rise in iron ore prices will not see a commensurate rebound in job advertising in Western Australia as mining firms are expected to maintain a keen focus on cost reduction," noted the bank's head of Australian corporate and commercial economics, Justin Fabo.

"Without a solid pick-up in the non-mining sectors as the contribution to overall growth from mining investment shrinks through 2013, ANZ's view is that Australia's unemployment rate is set to drift higher to around 5.75 per cent, from 5.2 per cent currently, by mid to late this year." The latest official Bureau of Statistics employment figures for December will be released on Thursday.

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