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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Best odds in years. It's raining (vacant) jobs

It's easier to find a job than it has been in years.

The latest count from the Bureau of Statistics shows there were 208,400 vacant jobs in August, the most on record. With 714,000 Australians out of work, it means there were just 3.4 unemployed for each vacancy in August, the best odds since 2012.

The number of vacant jobs has jumped from 179,700 to 208,400 in the space of a year. Two years ago, when there were only 152,600 vacant jobs, the unemployed to vacancy ratio was 5.5.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the news was in line with other data showing stronger growth across the economy, particularly in full-time employment.

"The contrast is clear - in the past 12 months under the Turnbull government, the economy has generated over 320,000 jobs, compared with just 81,500 during the past 12 months of the former Labor government," she said.

The Bureau's survey of job vacancies is regarded as more reliable than private sector counts because it asks employers about details of all vacancies, whether they are advertised or not.

NSW is by far the easiest of the big states in which to find a job, with 76,600 vacancies for 200,900 unemployed, meaning the odds of landing a job are 1 in 2.6. In Victoria there are only 55,900 vacancies for about the same number of unemployed, meaning 3.7 unemployed for each vacant job.

Tasmania is the worst state in which to find employment, with 6.4 unemployed competing for each vacant job. A Tasmanian who moved to Victoria or NSW would find it twice as easy to get a job.

South Australia is the second-worst state, with 5.2 unemployed competing for each vacant job. In Western Australia the ratio is 4.3 and in Queensland 4.2. Conditions in Queensland and Western Australia are much improved with the number of vacancies up 26 per cent and 11 per cent over the past year.

On paper, the Australian Capital Territory has by far the best odds with an unemployed to vacancy ratio of just 1.5, meaning there are two vacant jobs for every three unemployed, but the ACT figures are skewed by the number of ACT workers living outside of the ACT and the number of workers who come from interstate for ACT jobs.

Thirteen of the 18 industries identified by the Bureau recorded increases in vacancies over the past year. The biggest gains were in "administrative and support services", up from 21,900 to 32,000, and health care and social assistance, up from 20,900 to 24,200. Manufacturing, which was in decline after the global financial crisis, has 10,900 jobs on offer, up from 7700. Mining has 4200 more jobs on offer, up from 2700; the most in three years.

HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the labour market was tightening as the drag from the end of the mining boom faded and as non-mining businesses powered ahead.

"Job vacancies, job advertisements and the employment intention components of the business surveys have all strengthened even further in recent months. The key question is whether this tightening will generate a pickup in wages growth."

"Keeping in mind that this is an issue in many other economies. Nonetheless, if history is a good guide, the recent boost to national incomes and corporate profitability should trickle through."

In The Age and Sydney Morning Herald