Australia job ads rise 4.7% in April as demand for labour stays strong

(Reuters)—Australian job advertisements climbed for an 11th straight month in April to reach their highest in 12 years, suggesting strong demand for labour will withstand the removal of some government emergency support programmes.

Monday’s figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AX) showed total job ads grew 4.7% in April from March, when they rose 7.8%.

At 196,612, ads were at their highest level since 2008 and up almost 200% on a year earlier when a pandemic lockdown shut many industries.

ANZ senior economist, Catherine Birch, said the strength of ads was welcome given the ending of the government’s JobKeeper support programme could see 100,000-150,000 out of work.

“We’ve also seen almost 160,000 additional people employed over the past two months,” said Birch. “Strong labour demand should mean that many, but not all, will be able to find work elsewhere relatively quickly.”

Unemployment has fallen much quicker than policy makers expected to hit 5.6% in March, down from a pandemic peak of 7.5% reached in July last year.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is aiming to drive unemployment down to 4% or even lower in the hope of finally lifting wage growth and inflation after years of tepid gains.