CANBERRA, AAP – Job advertising has risen sharply as COVID-19 lockdowns eased and suggests the unemployment rate will be back below five per cent in the near term after the unexpected spike to 5.2 per cent in October.

The ANZ job ads series jumped 7.4 per cent in November to stand 44.2 per cent above their pre-pandemic level.

ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch says this reflects the robust recovery in NSW, Victoria and the ACT as restrictions eased.

She expects unemployment will fall to around four per cent by the end of 2022 and even further in 2023.

“We think competition for labour will get even hotter and workers will exercise their new power by changing to better jobs and asking for higher wages in 2022,” she said.

She believes that will push annual wage growth up to around three per cent in the second half of 2022.

The Reserve Bank of Australia wants to see inflation sustainably within its two to three per cent target before lifting the cash rate from its record low of 0.1 per cent.

To get there it believes unemployment will need to be around four per cent or lower and wage growth at above three per cent compared with 2.2 per cent now.

The RBA will hold its last monthly board meeting of the year on Tuesday.