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ANZ analysts note that Australia’s job vacancies fell 1.9% in the three months to August 2019 y/y, marking its first annual fall since February quarter 2014.

Key Quotes

“Weakness was concentrated in the major knowledge sectors. Professional services fell 12.6% q/q and 13.5% y/y (the weakest result since 2014) and education fell 7.1% q/q and 9.6% y/y (the sharpest annual decline in education vacancies in 5 years). Continuing weakness in construction vacancies (-5.1% q/q after -18.7% q/q to May) and a sharp decline in health (-8.1% q/q) also contributed to the decline.”

“New South Wales vacancies fell, in annual terms, for the first time in five years (-7.5% y/y), while Victoria recorded its second consecutive annual fall (-9.2% y/y). All other states/territories experienced vacancy growth, except South Australia.”

“Falling vacancies in the last six months represents a convergence with job advertisement data, which have been weakening for some time. Weakness in both leading indicators is a strong signal that employment growth could slow in the near term. This is concerning because unemployment has been rising despite strong employment growth in recent months.”