Australian job ads rise for sixth month in October

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a 'Well Done' sign after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased for the state of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia, October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements rose for the sixth straight month in October as the labour market slowly heals from coronavirus lockdowns, though ads are still not back to where they were before the pandemic hit.

Monday's figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ.AX showed total job ads grew 9.4% in October, from September when they rose an upwardly revised 8.3%.

Ads averaged 129,544, double the low of 63,565 hit in May but still short of last October’s 154,663. Ads have bounced every single month since a record dive of 53.2% in April when the first wave of lockdowns hit.

“Job Ads have now regained more than three-quarters of the plunge they took in March and April,” said ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch.

“We think Job Ads will need to exceed pre-pandemic levels for some time to ensure the ongoing recovery in employment and reduce labour market underutilisation.”

Official data last month showed the jobless rate edged up to 6.9% in September, though the true level is much higher once government employment schemes are taken into account.

The ANZ vacancies series is closely watched by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) given it counts actual job ads, while Australian Bureau of Statistics data is based on intentions by firms to hire.

The RBA has already slashed rates to record lows in an effort to revive the labour market, and is widely expected to cut further to just 0.1% at a policy meting on Tuesday.

Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam