Australia job advertisements fall 3.8 pct in Dec -ANZ

SYDNEY Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:30pm EST

SYDNEY Jan 14 (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet fell again in December, a tenth straight month of decline that pointed to softer demand for labour.

A survey by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job advertisements fell a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent to 133,352 in December, following a drop of 2.8 percent the month before. That was down 16.1 percent from December 2011.

Job ads on the Internet fell 3.9 percent to 127,799 in December, from the month before, to be down 15.3 percent on the year. Newspapers ads dropped 0.4 percent, continuing a long-run shift away from newspapers toward Internet ads.

"The ongoing weakness suggests that conditions for a large share of Australian businesses remain challenging and the outlook uncertain," said ANZ's head of Australian economics, Ivan Colhoun.

He cautioned that without further monetary easing, the unemployment rate could rise towards 5.75 percent by the end of 2013, from the current 5.2 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates in both October and December, taking them to a record-matching low of 3.0 percent.

ANZ is tipping further cuts this year, perhaps to as low as 2 percent.

Official figures on the labour market are due on Thursday and are expected to show employment was flat in December, nudging the jobless rate up to 5.4 percent.

While employment growth was subpar over 2012, the jobless rate was surprisingly steady in part due to a drop in participation rates.

ANZ said it received only partial data for December newspaper job advertising in NSW and Victoria so estimates have been used for the missing data. (Reporting by Wayne Cole)

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