JOB ADS FLATLINE FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT MONTH

JOB ADS FLATLINE FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT MONTH

THE national jobs market remains flat as a key indicator shows hiring intentions by employers are on the slide.

However, once economist says the slowdown is not unexpected after a strong run of growth in mid-2015.

The latest ANZ Job Ads survey shows that job advertisements rose 0.2 per cent in March from February, extending the flatline trend over the past four months.

The survey found a tale of two media with the number of internet job ads rising 0.4 per cent over the month, while newspaper ads slumped 11.4 per cent.

"The number of job ads has been broadly unchanged for four months now, signalling an easing in hiring intentions," says ANZ senior economist Justin Fabo.

"To some extent this is unsurprising given the strong pace of jobs growth over much of 2015 and modest improvement in the unemployment rate.

"As we flagged last month, the recent run of softer job ads could partly reflect some caution on behalf of businesses amid heightened financial markets volatility and uncertainty about the global economic outlook.

"Domestic political developments over the past month and uncertainty about the timing of the federal election are also unlikely to have been positive for labour demand."

Fabo says the volatility in the official measure of employment growth over the past six months has made gauging the underlying pace of jobs growth 'challenging'.

"While the official figures show a modest fall in (measured) employment over the three months to February, this followed the fastest jobs growth over a three-month period since 2006," he says.

"In our view, ANZ job ads are providing a 'cleaner' picture of labour market conditions.

"Hiring is taking a breather, but we expect jobs growth to maintain enough momentum over the coming six months to keep the unemployment rate within earshot of 5.75 per cent."

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