Australia job ads rise 1.4 pct in March -ANZ

SYDNEY, April 7 Sun Apr 6, 2014 9:33pm EDT

SYDNEY, April 7 (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet rose for a third straight month in March, a further sign that demand for labour is picking up after a long fallow period.

A survey by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job advertisements rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in March, from February when they had climbed a revised 4.7 percent.

The average number of job ads per week was 132,925, from an upwardly revised 131,089 in February. That was down 2.7 percent on March last year, but a big improvement from the middle of last year when the annual drop reached 18.8 percent.

Job ads on the Internet rose 1.3 percent in March to 128,786 and were down 2.3 percent on the year. Newspaper ads bounced 4.5 percent, a rare increase amid a prolonged structural shift to other forms of advertising.

"There is now clearer evidence that labour demand is strengthening," said ANZ chief economist for Australia Ivan Colhoun. "Importantly, there has been strength in job advertising in some key industries, including construction, education and health."

Official employment figures for March are due on Thursday and median forecasts are for a modest rise of 5,000 following a surprisingly large 47,300 increase in February. The jobless rate is seen staying at 6.0 percent.

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)

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