The number of job vacancies advertised in January went up 1.3 per cent, making it the eighth month in a row in which the number of job ads rose.
The research, conducted by ANZ, found that the number of job ads has now risen by 10 per cent over the year to January.
This significant rise tells a very different story from the unemployment figure, which has been rising steadily for the past year – although it bucked that trend by falling slightly in January.
However, most commentators – including the Reserve Bank of Australia – believe it will continue to rise in the near term.
Rising unemployment would suggest deteriorating economic conditions, while increased job ads would suggest improving conditions.
Addressing this apparent contradiction, ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said: “While we remain cautious about interpretation of the official labour market data, the recent stabilisation in the unemployment rate would appear a little more consistent with recent trends in ANZ job advertisements.
“A gap between job ads and the official data remains however, most likely reflecting a higher rate of retrenchments in industries such as manufacturing and resources, which suggests that overall labour demand is struggling to keep pace with the flow of new workers into the economy.”
Mr Hogan said he did not expect this dynamic to change during 2015, and predicted unemployment would continue to rise to 6.5 per cent in 2015. He said this would lead the Reserve Bank to cut the cash rate again, probably in March.
The research also sounded another death knell for print media, with the number of job ads in newspapers falling by 6.7 per cent month to month, and 23.8 per cent for the year.