Australia job ads fall in October to 2.5-year low: ANZ

FILE PHOTO: Office workers cross a street in Sydney, Australia, September 4, 2017. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the internet fell in October to the lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years, underscoring a softening labour market despite three interest rate cuts this year.

Monday's figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ.AX showed total job advertisements slipped a seasonally adjusted 1% in October, following a 0.3% rise in September.

Job ads averaged 155,972 daily on websites one day a week in October, 11.4% lower than in October last year. Annual growth has been in negative territory since the start of this year.

ANZ’s senior economist Catherine Birch said jobs ads were now at their lowest level since January 2017, if a holiday-affected result in May was excluded.

“The ANZ Job Ads series has been pointing to a material slowdown in employment growth for some time; yet employment growth has been remarkably resilient,” Birch said in a statement.

“We don’t expect it can hold up for much longer though.

In particular, employment in the construction industry should continue to fall as residential building activity contracts through to mid-2020.”

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 more tenuous intentions by firms to hire.

The RBA cut its cash rate to a record low 0.75% last month following two back-to-back easings in June and July.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; editing by Jane Wardell