03/11/2008 - 09:35

WA posts biggest fall in job ads survey

03/11/2008 - 09:35

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Western Australia has recorded the biggest drop in newspaper job advertisements for October, in line with the national decline as firms shied away from hiring staff in a slowing economy, a survey says.

Western Australia has recorded the biggest drop in newspaper job advertisements for October, in line with the national decline as firms shied away from hiring staff in a slowing economy, a survey says.

Job ads in major newspapers and on the internet fell by 5.9 per cent to a weekly average of 231,135 ads per week, the latest ANZ survey has found.

This follows a fall of 1.4 per cent in September.

Total job advertisements were 9.8 per cent lower than 12 months ago.

WA posted a 14.8 per cent drop in job ads, the biggest fall out of all the states, followed by Queensland, down 14.1 per cent and the ACT 12.8 per cent lower.

ANZ head of Australian Economics Warren Hogan said October's result offered more proof the global financial crisis had had an impact on the Australian economy.

Mr Hogan said the real weakness had been in newspaper advertising, with annual growth at its weakest since 2001.

"The economy avoided recession then but the unemployment rate rose by a percentage point (from six per cent to seven per cent)," he said.

"The only weaker outcomes for newspaper job advertisements over the past 30 years were in 1991 and 1982 when the economy experienced recession."

Newspaper ads fell by 12.2 per cent in October, to an average of 13,350 a week, and were down 34.7 per cent from a year ago.

Internet ads fell 5.5 per cent in October to an average 217,785 a week, down from the recent peak of 255,456 in April this year.

Mr Hogan expected the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut its cash rate by 50 basis points tomorrow, to 5.50 per cent, to stimulate the economy.

"Importantly, the Australian economy is not in recession, unlike many industrialised economies around the world, and the unemployment rate remains just above 30 year lows," he said.

"The RBA can afford to ease monetary policy gradually over the months ahead.

"If economic conditions deteriorate further, the RBA has plenty of scope to continue reducing interest rates in 2009."

Mr Hogan said the job ads survey would provide a reliable outlook for the health of the local economy.

"This will be an important indicator of the extent of the looming downturn in the Australian economy and the likely trajectory for unemployment over the next few weeks," he said.

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