- The number of job advertisements on the internet and in newspapers rose 6.0% m/m in January. Total job advertisements were 0.7% higher than in January 2011. This was the largest rise in job advertising since February 2010.
- The rise in job advertising was driven by a 6.4% rise in internet job advertisements to a level 1.4% higher than a year ago.
- Newspaper job ads fell 2.6% m/m in January, however, this only partially unwound the 3.4% m/m increase recorded in December. The December increase was driven by a surge in advertising in the resources states, which was largely maintained in January, especially in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Elsewhere there were signs that the Australia Day holiday caused greater than usual restraint in newspaper advertising in the last two weeks of January, suggesting a less negative outcome than the headline result. Overall, newspaper advertising was 11.5% lower than in January 2011.
- Even after seasonal adjustment, there was considerable volatility in the job ads data in December and January, as often happens at this time of year due to the large swings in advertising over the holiday period. This means emerging trends are more tentative than usual. However, the seasonally-adjusted number of newspaper job ads is 0.8% higher between November and January. Internet job ads rose 5.6% seasonally adjusted over this same period.
- In trend terms, total job ads rose by 0.5% m/m in January to be 2.6% lower than a yearearlier. Trend growth in job advertising has now been positive since December. If this trend is sustained, it casts some considerable doubt on the need for significant further easing by the RBA.
ANZ Head of Australian Economics and Property Research Ivan Colhoun said:
- Job advertisements rose strongly in January after a modest fall in December. This was the largest increase in advertising since February 2010 and has contributed to a rising trend for advertising for the second consecutive month. This tentative improvement in job ads is very encouraging and is being driven by acceleration in the mining regions of Australia (in Queensland and the Northern Territory in particular in recent months), confirming the awaited significant acceleration in mining investment is now beginning to boost labour demand in these states.
- We remain mindful of the usual problem of significant volatility in the monthly data over the December/January holiday period, which the seasonal adjustment process often has trouble adequately capturing. In spite of this caution, the pick-up in advertising in the resource states is of sufficient magnitude to outweigh any of these seasonal concerns, and in fact, there appears to be some evidence that the timing of Australia Day suppressed advertising by a greater than usual amount in the last two weeks of January in other states including WA.
- Comparing the level of job advertisements over the two months from November can help abstract from some of this volatility. This shows that newspaper job ads in the most populous states (New South Wales and Victoria) collectively rose 0.4% from November 2011 through to January 2012. Meanwhile, newspaper job ads in the mining states of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have collectively risen 2.6% over this same period. This positive growth indicates a potential stabilisation in job advertising in the larger east coast states, while the mining states continue to strengthen.
- In December 2011, total employment fell by 29,300 (-0.3% m/m and 0.0% y/y seasonally adjusted). This was mainly a result of much lower seasonal hiring for female part-time workers aged between 15 and 24 years, especially in New South Wales and Victoria. This could be due to lower seasonal demand from retail and hospitality businesses this year. Historically, such lower seasonal hirings have reversed the following month. As a result, ANZ expects a sharp bounce back in part-time employment in the January labour force data released on Thursday week.
- ANZ’s expectation has been that the unemployment rate is likely to drift up from 5.2% to 5.5% (or possibly higher) during 2012 as recent weak employment growth has not kept pace with accelerating population and labour force growth. This month’s job ads data if sustained in coming months suggests any rise in unemployment should remain very modest.
- Against this local backdrop and that of a persistently weak (but not worsening) global economy, we have forecast that the RBA will need to cut interest rates by 25bps in Q1, most probably in March. Inflation is well contained and the economy can afford to grow a little faster. Beyond March, if we see further confirmation that job ads have stabilised, this will likely be important for monetary policy expectations. In particular, we will be less likely to see further interest rate cuts and the market will need to remove some of the aggressive easing profile built into rate curves.
TOTAL JOB ADVERTISEMENTS
The ANZ Job Advertisements Series shows the total number of jobs advertised in major metropolitan newspapers and on the internet rose 6.0% m/m in January to an average of 191,423 advertisements per week (seasonally adjusted). Total job advertising is now 0.7% higher than a year earlier.
In trend terms, total job advertisements rose by 0.5% m/m in January, which is the second consecutive monthly rise.
NEWSPAPER JOB ADVERTISEMENTS
The number of job advertisements in major metropolitan newspapers fell 2.6% in January after rising 3.4% in December. The months of December and January typically exhibit greater 3 ANZ RESEARCH monthly volatility due to the summer holiday period. Nevertheless, newspaper job ads are 0.8% higher than November levels.
In trend terms, the number of newspaper job advertisements rose 0.1% m/m in January, the first positive trend result since February 2010. Given the continuing shift to online job advertising, this result underlines the strength of the bounce in newspaper advertising in recent months, especially in the mining states. The trend number of newspaper job advertisements, however, remains 13.5% lower than this time last year.
In January, newspaper job advertisements in the more populous states of New South Wales and Victoria have collectively risen 0.4% since November. This is consistent with a weak but improving trend for these states. Job advertisements fell sharply in January in the mining states of Queensland (-2.9% m/m), Western Australia (-6.0% m/m) and the Northern Territory (-38.1% m/m), though in each case this only partially reversed large rises recorded in December and preceding months. In trend terms, the mining states continue to significantly outperform the rest of Australia.
INTERNET JOB ADVERTISEMENTS
The number of internet job advertisements was 6.4% higher in January and 1.4% higher than year-ago levels. This is the highest seasonally adjusted number of internet job advertisements since April 2011.
In trend terms, internet job advertisements rose 0.5% m/m, the second consecutive monthly rise. Annual trend growth is now -2.6% y/y.