By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, April 6 (Reuters) – Australian job advertisements surged to their highest in 12 years in March, a promising sign the labour market’s blistering recovery can withstand the removal of some of the government’s emergency support programmes.
Tuesday’s figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job ads grew 7.4% in March from February, when they jumped an upwardly revised 8.8%.
At 190,542, ads were at their highest level since November 2008 and up a massive 39.7% on a year earlier when a pandemic lockdown began to shutter many industries.
ANZ senior economist, Catherine Birch, said the strength of ads suggested the ending of the government’s JobKeeper support programme would have a smaller impact than first feared.
“We estimate that 100,000-150,000 people will lose employment, equivalent to 0.8-1.2% of the current workforce,” said Birch.
“But we think net employment losses will be smaller, as growing labour demand elsewhere should mean many workers find a new job relatively quickly,” she added. “While we expect a temporary rise in the unemployment rate in Q2, we think it will resume its rapid downward trajectory in H2 2021.”
Unemployment has fallen much quicker than policy makers expected to hit 5.8% in February, down from a pandemic peak of 7.5% reached in July last year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is aiming to drive unemployment down to 4% or even lower in the hope of finally lifting wage growth and inflation after years of tepid gains.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole Editing by Shri Navaratnam)