SYDNEY Feb 3 Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet edged fractionally lower in January, a fourth month of minor losses that pointed to some sign of stabilisation in labour demand.
A survey by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job advertisements dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in January, from December when they were down 0.8 percent.
The average number of job ads per week was 124,371, down 8.9 percent on the same month of 2013.
Job ads on the Internet eased 0.2 percent in January to 120,409 and were down 8.4 percent on the year. Newspaper ads fell 1.4 percent in the month, continuing a prolonged structural shift to other forms of advertising.
"There has been a notable stabilisation in the rate of deterioration in labour demand over the past six months," said ANZ chief economist for Australia Ivan Colhoun.
"This suggests the unemployment rate will remain for some time and may peak in the 5.75 to 6 percent range."
Official employment figures for January are due next week and analysts are hoping for a bounce in hiring following a disappointing drop of 22,600 in December. The jobless rate had stayed at 5.8 percent for a third straight month in December.
"Recent developments in job advertising, as well as in other key economic indicators, suggest the outlook for the Australian economy is becoming more positive," added Colhoun.
The ANZ job ads survey's correlation with employment has weakened over the last couple of years, in part due to firms using other methods of reaching job seekers such as social media. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer)