Job market continues to heal
Job vacancies

Skilled job vacancies: In seasonally adjusted terms, the Internet Vacancy Index increased by 8.9 per cent (or 10,700 job advertisements) in July 2020 to stand at 131,100.

Provisional mortality: The Bureau of Statistics has released data from January to May 2020.

Skilled vacancies highlights the strength of the job market and has implications for placement agencies and retailers.

What does it all mean?

• As the Reserve Bank Governor constantly stresses, it’s all about jobs. Job ads have now lifted 75 per cent over the last three months from the lows. But job ads are still just under 20 per cent down on recent highs set in January this year.

• Employees are slowly drifting back to their workplaces as COVID-19 restrictions ease. But Victoria is the exception. Job vacancies are broadly back at or near pre-COVID levels in Tasmania, ACT and South Australia. Job ads are at seven month highs in Tasmania.

• There has been an incredible lift in ads for doctors and nurses in the past month – in fact ads are at record highs in NSW, up 30 per cent or 600 positions in the past month. There are grounds to open the international borders for workers with specific skills.

What do the figures show?

Skilled Job Vacancies – July

• In seasonally adjusted terms, the Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) increased by 8.9 per cent (or 10,700 job advertisements) in July 2020 to stand at 131,100. Despite this increase, job advertisements are 23.3 per cent (or 39,700 advertisements) below the level recorded in July 2019.

• In seasonally adjusted terms, the IVI has decreased by 23.3 per cent (or 39,700 job advertisements) over the year to July 2020.

• Six of the states and both territories recorded an increase in job advertisements in July 2020. NSW (up 16.1 per cent); Victoria (down 6.5 per cent); Queensland (up 13.5 per cent); South Australia (up 15.3 per cent); Western Australia (up 11.3 per cent); Tasmania (up 11.5 per cent); Northern Territory (down 4.3 per cent); ACT (up 6 per cent). Job ads are down over the year for all states and territories.

• “Job advertisements increased in all occupational groups. The strongest gains were recorded for Sales Workers (up by 16.7 per cent or 1500 job advertisements), followed by Machinery Operators and Drivers (13.3 per cent or 950 job advertisements) and Labourers (13.2 per cent or 1200 job advertisements).

• “Job advertisements increased across 46 of the 48 detailed occupational groups during July 2020.”

• “Sales Assistants and Salespersons (up by 980 job advertisements, or 19.2 per cent) recorded the largest increase over the month, followed by Medical Practitioners and Nurses (920 job advertisements, 15.7 per cent), ICT Professionals (780 job advertisements, 12.1 per cent), General-Inquiry Clerks, Call Centre Workers, and Receptionists (640 job advertisements, 7.9 per cent) and Corporate Managers (530 job advertisements, 11.1 per cent).”

• “Despite the gains observed during the month, 35 of the 48 detailed occupational groups recorded falls in job advertisements over the year to July 2020. ICT Professionals (down by 4100 job advertisements or 36.3 per cent) recorded the largest decrease over the period, followed by Business, Finance and Human Resource Professionals (4000 job advertisements, 41.6 per cent), General-Inquiry Clerks, Call Centre Workers, and Receptionists (3800 job advertisements, 30.0 per cent), Corporate Managers (3700 job advertisements, 40.9 per cent) and Numerical Clerks (2600 job advertisements, 44.1 per cent).”

• “The remaining 13 detailed occupational groups recorded increases in job advertisements over the year to July 2020. Cleaners and Laundry Workers recorded the largest increase (up by 400 job advertisements or 25.0 per cent), followed by Drivers and Storepersons (320 job advertisements, 9.3 per cent) and Medical Practitioners and Nurses (280 job advertisements, 4.3 per cent).”

• “Job advertisements now stand at or above pre COVID-19 levels for 13 of the 46 detailed occupational groups.”

What is the importance of the economic data?

• The Department of Employment releases a monthly Internet Vacancy Index. The index is based on a count of online job advertisements newly lodged on three main job boards (SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch) during the month. The index is the only publicly available source of detailed data for online vacancies, including around 350 occupations (at all skill levels), as well as for all states/territories and 37 regions.

What are the implications for investors?

• The health of Australians and the health of the economy remain intertwined. Sustained flattening of COVID-19 curves across the nations will allow Australians to get back to some sense of normalcy. While states and territories have achieved much success in flattening curves, closures of internal borders are still constraining economic momentum.

Published by Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec