Job ads slide again

Job ads have fallen for the 11th straight month, as rate cuts so far appear to have failed to boost employment.

ANZ's monthly job ads figures fell 0.9 per cent in January, following on from a steep 15 per cent slide in the last four months of last year.

The current level of job advertising is down 30 per cent on its most recent peak in April 2011, with an average of just under 134,000 ads per week, seasonally adjusted.

ANZ says the January figures need to be read with some caution because the summer holiday period is subject to a lot of volatility.

The bank says the February and March figures should provide a better gauge of whether the jobs market is continuing to weaken or starting to bottom out.

However, the bank's head of Australian economics, Ivan Colhoun, says previous falls in job ads are likely to feed into a higher unemployment rate when the Bureau of Statistics releases the official labour force figures for January on Thursday.

"ANZ expects the unemployment rate to have risen slightly to 5.5 per cent and for employment to have risen by around 15,000," he noted in the report.

"We expect growth in the Australian economy to be below trend this year as the economy transitions towards a lower dependence on mining investment." One area still heavily dependent on, and benefitting from, mining investment is the Northern Territory, where newspaper ads were up 7 per cent.

"The Northern Territory has continued to do particularly well due to the size of its mega-LNG projects relative to the state's GDP," Mr Colhoun observed.

"In the other mining states (Western Australia and Queensland), job advertising trends have continued to ease, albeit at a slightly reduced rate in trend terms in January." Despite the continued fall in job ads, ANZ expects the Reserve Bank to keep official interest rates on hold when it meets tomorrow, but to cut again later this year as unemployment edges towards 5.75 per cent.

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