The number of job vacancies fell 1.1 per cent in the three months to May, a “noticeably weaker” performance than a year ago.
Employers in May advertised 241,500 positions, according to seasonally adjusted data released on Thursday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Public sector vacancies rose 3.8 per cent but vacancies in the much larger private sector fell 1.6 per cent.
That pulled the overall rate of growth down from 1.2 per cent in the February quarter – and from 6.7 per cent a year ago.
ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said growth in vacancies was noticeably weaker in 2019 than it had been in 2018.
“Growth in the quarterly trend measure of job vacancies was 0.3 per cent in May 2019, which was well below the 4.1 per cent a year ago,” Mr Hockman said.
“This was consistent with the recent slowing in other economic indicators.”
The most recent jobless figures showed Australia’s unemployment rate remained steady in May.
But underemployment has risen due to a jobs surge overwhelmingly weighted towards part-time work. Part-time jobs accounted for 94 per cent of the May monthly increase in employment.
Figures out last month showed the economy grew by an underwhelming 0.4 per cent in the March quarter as household spending weakened and the property construction downturn rolled on.
The Reserve Bank has cut the cash rate at each of its past two board meetings – the first time it has done so since 2012 – to try to stimulate the economy. It is also closely monitoring the labour market for any sign that further reductions could be needed.
“We remain of the view that the RBA will cut,” AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said on Thursday.
“The RBA is expected to cut 0.75 per cent November and 0.5 per cent in February.”
Tasmania had the largest percentage increase in vacancies in the year to May. The largest percentage fall in vacancies was in Victoria.