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CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Job vacancies rise to 5-year high

5-year high for vacancies

Job vacancies increased by 9.9 per cent over the year to November 2016, to hit a five-year high as the Australian economy continues to recover.

The gap in the chart relates to funding cuts for the ABS during the financial crisis, so you'll have to imagine what happened to vacancies then (spoiler: they plummeted).

The number of vacancies has surged 31 per cent higher over the past three years. 

The annual change in job vacancies has now been in positive territory since 2014.

The quarterly gain was driven by a strong rebound in Queensland which posted a strong increase of 4,700 vacancies, while the Australian Capital Territory also added 1,000 advertised positions.

In New South Wales the total of 69,000 vacancies was marginally below its highest ever level, but remained 15.6 per cent higher than a year earlier. 

Western Australia saw vacancies increase over the past year, another tick in the box for a gradually stabilising Perth economy.

The economy has been stagnant in South Australia for some time, and job vacancies declined by 5.9 per cent over the year, while in Tasmania vacancies were down by 25.9 per cent.

The number of unemployed persons per job vacancy now has a '3 handle' for the first time in four years down from as high as 5.14 just two years ago.

There were decent increases in mining, manufacturing, and construction, but probably the most important improvement was that seen in retail trade vacancies, a sector which really struggled to employ staff in 2016.

The largest gain over the past year was in finance and insurance vacancies at 4,000, followed by healthcare and social assistance at 3,900.

The wrap

Overall this was another very good result, with vacancies 14,800 higher than a year earlier - mainly in the services sector - which suggests that the pace of hiring should pick up again in 2017 having slowed markedly in 2016.

The rebound in commodity prices seems to have underpinned employment in the mining sector, which may rise moderately over the year ahead.

The figures don't, however, provide a split between full time and part time positions, so the composition of vacancies is unclear.