The number of new newspaper and internet job ads fell 2.8 per cent in August, according to a tally by ANZ, sparking speculation it could spur further rate cuts by the central bank next month.
The drop in Australian job ads follows two consecutive increases of 4.9 per cent in June and 0.8 per cent in July, the bank’s researchers said on Monday.
The total number of ads during the month – 156,978 – was a slide of 11.4 per cent on August 2018.
ANZ economist David Plank said the figures were “consistent with other data suggesting that the outlook for the labour market is softening”.
“We had postulated that the gain in job ads in June and July was a consequence of the holiday and election-related weakness in May, rather than a sign of genuine recovery,” he said.
“The drop in job ads in August gives credence to that view.”
Mr Plank said the NAB survey also pointed toward slowing employment growth, while the downturn in building activity was another worrying factor.
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate in June and again in July, leaving it at a record low of 1.0 per cent in August while hinting that more reductions were possible.
“Members would consider a further easing of monetary policy if the accumulation of additional evidence suggested this was needed to support sustainable growth in the economy and the achievement of the inflation target over time,” the RBA said in the minutes of its August 6 meeting.
“The drop in ANZ Job Ads will, we think, add to ‘the accumulation of additional evidence’ that the RBA will need to cut the cash rate again in October,” Mr Plank said.
The RBA’s next two meetings to decide on the cash rate are on September 3 and October 1.