The quarterly job index backed by superannuation fund SunSuper reported an overall fall of 0.4 of a percentage point for March.
This parallels other key economic indicators, like sluggish GDP and wages growth.
However, for SunSuper, demand is still at historically high levels. On an annual basis, the job index is up by 0.3 of a percentage point.
For the first quarter of 2019, management, professional and clerical job vacancies grew slightly, while labourers, machinery operators and drivers, and technicians and trades all fell.
The royal commission into banking has had little lasting impact on the job market in finance and insurance sectors, the index shows.
In fact, job opportunities within the finance and insurance services sector were up by 10 per cent during the reporting period.
Highs and lows
The rise in demand for community and personal service workers was the standout occupational group last year, but even that sector fell by 7.7 per cent last quarter, explained SunSuper’s chief economist, Brian Parker.
“Other industries to perform well at the start of 2019 include professional services (up by 9.5 per cent), mining (up by 7.4 per cent) and manufacturing and distribution (up by 11.3 per cent),” Mr Parker said.
“The sector to suffer the weakest quarter, and indeed last 12 months, was retail and wholesale. The 4.4 per cent fall in the March quarter was less than the prior two, but contributes to an overall fall of 20.6 per cent year-on-year.
“It was a surprisingly subdued quarter for healthcare and social assistance, with vacancies drifting 1.9 per cent against the backdrop of a 20.9 per cent increase since last March.”