SYDNEY, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Job vacancies in Australia eased from all-time highs in the August quarter as positions were filled in the private sector, but openings remained more than double pre-pandemic levels and almost matched the number of unemployed.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) out on Thursday showed vacancies in the three months to August fell 2.1%, from the previous quarter, to 470,900.
That was still 40.8% higher than the same period last year, when pandemic lockdowns were widespread.
Hiring has beaten all forecasts this year to drive the jobless rate down near its lowest in almost 50 years at 3.5%.
"There were a similar number of unemployed people (488,000) to job vacancies (471,000) in August 2022, compared with three times as many unemployed people to vacancies before the start of the pandemic," Lauren Ford, ABS head of labour statistics.
The strength of the labour market is one reason the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has raised interest rates five times since May to 2.35%, and is considered likely to hike by another 50 basis points at its October policy meeting next week.
Thursday's data showed vacancies in the private sector dipped 3.3% in the August quarter, unwinding some of a big 14% jump the quarter before. Public sector vacancies grew 10.5%.
The number of vacancies was highest in health and social assistance, followed by the accommodation and food sector, retail and scientific and professional sectors.
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