Finance Work New job ads rebound amid cautious optimism

New job ads rebound amid cautious optimism

NAB expect 18,000 new jobs to be created a month.
After recording their biggest monthly fall, job ads are starting to bounce back. Photo: Getty
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After recording their largest monthly fall, job ads are starting to bounce back.

In the two weeks ending May 17, new job ads posted on employment website SEEK were up 26.8 per cent on their April 2020 average.

The number of jobs increased across all states – with ‘trades and services’ (45.1 per cent), ‘administration and office support’ (88.5 per cent), ‘education and training’ (75.3 per cent), ‘hospitality and tourism’ (101.6 per cent) and ‘sales’ (97.1 per cent) contributing most to overall growth.

Although the number of ads are still well below pre-crisis levels, SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said the data suggests the labour market is on the road to recovery.

“We are using April as a baseline as we hope this is the low point for job ad numbers and we can use this as a comparison for how the employment market is progressing,” Ms Banks said.

It is important to remember that these figures are a long way shy of the pre-COVID volumes and there is a long road ahead.”

South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland experienced the largest percentage growth in job ads, but all states have seen an increase since April.

Ms Banks said this suggests “we have turned a corner as long as we do not see a return of restrictions or a further outbreak”.

The largest growth was in the ‘consumer services’ category, which includes jobs in administration and office support, hospitality and tourism, sales, retail and consumer products, real estate and property, call centres, sport and recreation, advertising, and arts and media.

Over the two weeks to May 17, the number of job ads under the consumer services umbrella increased 84.4 per cent above the April average – accounting for 37 per cent of the total jobs advertised on SEEK.

Many of the categories with strong ads growth, however, suffered most during the first wave of job losses.

For example, special ABS payroll data shows the hospitality industry lost 27.1 per cent of its jobs between March 14 and May 2, the arts sector lost 19 per cent, and ‘rental, hiring and real estate services’ lost 12.8 per cent.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has publicly acknowledged that it takes a long lot longer for unemployment to fall than rise, and several economists have since echoed that point.

Yet this week provided tentative signs of a recovery in consumer spending, which accounts for almost 60 per cent of GDP.

Commonwealth Bank figures released on Tuesday shows spending on credit and debt cards in the week to May 15 was down just 2 per cent year on year.

Although that’s well below pre-crisis levels, with spending in January up 7 per cent on the year before, it’s a noticeable improvement on the lows of mid-April.

Commonwealth Bank senior economist Kristina Clifton said consumers were opening their wallets as restrictions eased and government stimulus flowed into bank accounts.

SEEK says this is ‘where the jobs are’

  • Healthcare and medical – roles in nursing (aged care and general medical), physiotherapy, psychology, counselling and social work, and general practitioners
  • Trades and services – labourers, fitters, turners, machinists and electricians, and automotive workers
  • Information and communication technology – developers and programmers, business and systems analysts, software engineers, and roles in project management
  • Manufacturing, transport and logistics – roles in warehousing, storage and distribution, road transport, assembly and process work, and machine operators
  • Mining, resources and energy – operations, and engineering and maintenance.