Australia's economy is rebounding from the recent Delta lockdowns with a robust recovery in labour demand as evidenced by a significant increase in ads for employment.
Job advertisements as tracked by ANZ rose by 7.4% in November to a 13 year high of 222,093 available positions.
Ads are up 52% on a year ago and 44.2% above pre-pandemic levels
Job ads show a strong and persistent increase
Another measure of the strong demand for labour is that SEEK job ads rose 1.1% in November, marking the third consecutive month of increases post lockdown.
Job ads are now 52.1% above pre-pandemic and are at the highest levels in the 23-year history of SEEK.
All states are above their levels prior to recent lockdowns and nationally job ads are 52.1% above pre-pandemic and are at the highest levels in the 23 years plus history of SEEK.
In the month increases were seen across most states, with the strongest growth in NT (+4.2% m/m), VIC (+3.6% m/m) and QLD (+3.3% m/m). NSW (-2.2% m/m) and the ACT (-1.9% m/m) fell after bouncing strongly out of lockdowns with job ads in NSW still 44% above pre-pandemic levels.
Given the strength in job ads over recent months, the trend decline in unemployment in place prior to lockdowns should re-establish itself quickly.
Job ad trends show a tight labour market ahead
The strength seen in job advertising over the past three months suggests a swift recovery in the labour market following the end of stay at home orders in NSW, VIC and the ACT during October.
Some of that recovery is now being seen in other indicators such as the ABS ATO Payrolls data with the level of payrolls now 0.8% above the week to June 26 when Sydney first went into lockdown.
The NAB expects a sharp rebound in employment following the easing of domestic restrictions and the reopening of borders, while the unemployment rate is likely to quickly resume its downward trend.
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The emergence of the Omicron variant is a significant risk to the outlook and we will know more about the severity of Omicron and whether vaccines maintain a high degree of efficacy over the next few weeks.
So far the news out of South Africa is that the variant is mild in people who are fully vaccinated with Australia’s Chief Medical Officer “cautiously positive.”
Industries most impacted by recent lockdowns have shown the greatest increase in job ads
Job ads continue to rise in Hospitality & Tourism (up 7.0% m/m) alongside indications that spending on food and dining soared as NSW, VIC and the ACT re-opened.
The closed international border is one factor limiting the availability of labour in this sector with ads for Hospitality & Tourism up an incredible 113.6% on pre-pandemic February 2020 levels.
Other industries to see strong increases include the Real-estate & Property sector (+9.1% m/m).
At an aggregate level, jobs ads in all former lockdown jurisdictions are well above levels seen when lockdowns were first imposed, NSW is 10.0% above June 2021 levels, while VIC is up 11.1% and ACT is up 3.0% from July 2021.
Job ads are at a new record high in Victoria.
Candidate availability remains low and declining
Candidate availability (the number of applications for each job ad, note, reported with a one-month lag) decreased 9.4% in October 2021 to be 53.6% below Dec 2019 levels.
Candidate availability declines were most pronounced in the Government and Defence industry (-15.2% m/m) and the Hospitality and Tourism sector (-11.7%).
The Tourism and Hospitality labour force tends to contain a relatively higher concentration of international visa holders and continues to be impacted by reduced migration flows and closed borders.
Source of charts and commentary : NAB - Economy Watch