Australia job vacancies tumble from record levels in latest quarter

SYDNEY: Job vacancies in Australia slid from record levels in the three months to August, adding to signs that the country's labour shortage might be easing as interest rate hikes work to constrain demand.

Vacancies fell by 8.9% from the previous quarter to 390,400, the biggest decline and the lowest level in two years, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed.

That was down 15% from a year ago, but still 71.5% higher than in February 2020.

Australia's unemployment rate has also climbed, to 3.7% from a record low of 3.4%, data showed this month.

"While these indicators are no longer at historical levels, both are still showing that the labour market is tighter than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kate Lamb, ABS head of labour statistics.

The percentage of businesses reporting at least one vacancy fell to 21.7% in August, the lowest since the quarter ending in November 2021.

Analysts believe that demand for labour, which has been incredibly resilient, will slow given that the Reserve Bank of Australia has raised interest rates by 400 basis points since May last year to an 11-year high of 4.1%.

The central bank has been on hold for three straight months as policymakers see a credible path of returning inflation back to 2-3% target without crashing the economy.

Thursday's data showed vacancies in the private sector fell 9.2%, while the public sector saw a drop of 6.3%. - Reuters

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