The number of job vacancies across Australia has fallen for the first time in more than five years, in the latest sign that Australia’s economy is slowing.
It had been a usual dichotomy with jobs numbers and unemployment figures performing quite strongly in 2018 and early 2019 while wages growth stalled and the economy slowed.
Yet the Reserve Bank cited expectations of slowing jobs growth and rising unemployment, as well as weaker than expected business investment, when it cut interest rates back to back in June and July this year.
Now the latest jobs figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) appear to justify those concerns.
Last week, the ABS revealed that Australia’s unemployment rate had ticked up to 5.3 per cent — wiping out all of the reductions seen over the past year. That was despite an increase of 22,000 people in employment, due to an increase in the participation rate (which rose by 0.1 of a percentage point to 66.2 per cent).
And now on Thursday (26 September), the ABS revealed that the number of job vacancies across the country is falling.
Despite us rapidly approaching the busy Christmas season, the volume of job vacancies fell by 1.3 per cent in the three months to August 2019, and by 1.4 per cent over the past year.
Soaring growth in the number of public positions was not enough to offset the falls recorded within the private sector. Vacancies soared over the last year by 10.8 per cent in the public sector, but went backwards by 2.8 per cent in the private sector.
Chief economist at the ABS Bruce Hockman said it was “the first annual decline of job vacancies since February 2014”.
Southern Australia recorded the biggest swings in job vacancies, with Tasmania having the largest percentage increase in vacancies and Victoria having the largest percentage decrease.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.