Australian jobs vacancies in public and private sectors at record levels

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A man reads job adverts in a newspaper at a cafe in Sydney, Australia, May 9, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

New data shows that Australian job vacancies hit the highest level on record in the three months to August. Vacancies rose by 6 percent to 203,700 in seasonally adjusted terms, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed.

Jobs vacancies increased by a smaller 3.9 percent to 201,300 in trend terms, eliminating volatility in the seasonally adjusted series. It is up 14 percent from the previous year.

In the private sector, jobs vacancies rose by 3.8 percent to 181,400 in trend terms. That is a rise of 13.7 percent a year earlier. The private sector is the largest employer in the country. This can be compared to jobs vacancies in the public sector, which rose by a larger 4.5 percent to 19,900. It rose 16.8 percent over the year.

Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Workman said the latest figures are a very good sign on the outlook for employment growth in the coming year. He said the trend in the jobs vacancies show that Aussies can expect average monthly jobs gains in the 18,000 to 22,000 range over the next few quarters.

Workman said another 250,000 jobs to be added over the next year can be expected, adding to the already robust jobs growth of 325,000 over the year to August. Hiring of such magnitude “should be sufficient to keep some downward pressure on the national unemployment rate given the very gradual downward trend in the participation rate as the population ages.”

“We expect the unemployment rate to be around the 5.4% level by year end, from its current 5.6%,” he said, according to Business Insider Australia.

Asia Pacific economist Callam Pickering, from jobs website Indeed, recognised that jobs vacancies have hit a record high. However, he noted that there remains to be a high level of slack in the labour market.

"The number of vacancies per unemployed person is now at a five year low but remains well above its pre-crisis level,” The Australian quotes Pickering as saying. According to him, there are several people who consider themselves underemployed who continue to search for more working hours.

Vacancies trend has been shifting higher for the past year, but new jobs are not uniformly distributed across states, regions and sectors. Commonwealth Bank said vacancies continued to trend higher in the mining sector because of stronger commodity prices improving profitability and enabling more skilled labour to be used.

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