Australia job vacancies recover from pandemic shock to hit record

FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are seen amidst the easing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the Central Business District of Sydney, Australia, June 3, 2020. Picture taken June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian job vacancies surged in the three months to November to reach an all-time high as the economy opened up from various coronavirus lockdowns, usually a reliable indicator of stronger employment growth ahead.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) out on Wednesday showed vacancies jumped by 23.4% in the November quarter, from the August quarter, to reach 254,400.

That was up 12% on a year earlier and a startling comeback from the plunge to 129,200 suffered during the May quarter when lockdowns were at their height.

Vacancies in the private sector climbed 24.2%, from the August quarter, while the public sector saw a rise of almost 17%. The largest gains came in the sectors hardest hit during the pandemic: arts and recreation; accommodation and food and retail trade.

The surge offers hope the labour market overall can continue its surprisingly brisk recovery, which saw the jobless rate drop to 6.8% in November, from a July peak of 7.5%.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; editing by Richard Pullin)

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