Australia job advertisements fall 5.5% in Dec – ANZ

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Workers are reflected in an office building's windows in Sydney's Barangaroo business district in Australia's largest city

SYDNEY – Australian job advertisements slipped in December after two months of steep gains as some positions were filled, while a pick up in coronavirus cases may have had some impact on employers.

Wednesday’s figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd showed total job ads fell 5.5% in December from November, when they jumped an upwardly revised 9.9%.

Ads were still up 32.7% on a year earlier at 212,098 and 4.2% higher than June 2021 when the Delta variant first hit.

ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch noted a huge 366,100 surge in employment reported during November suggested some outstanding positions were filled and was partly behind the drop in ads.

“But it’s also possible that businesses have become more hesitant to hire due to the spread of Omicron and the consequent uncertainty around consumer behaviour and worker availability,” she added.

New coronavirus cases began to take off in late December and are now hitting records daily.

Birch said surveys also suggested more workers were looking to switch jobs this year.

“With so much competition for labour and workers feeling secure in their jobs, we should see more people moving to better jobs and asking for larger pay rises in 2022, contributing to stronger wages growth,” she said.

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The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is keeping interest rates at record lows in the hope of driving unemployment down to 4% or even lower and finally lifting wage growth after years of tepid gains.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Himani Sarkar)