Data from SEEK has shown job advertising to have experienced a big bounce in January at 9.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted. This optimistic jump went a long way to restoring positivity, after the wobbly end to 2019. Indicative of this, the trend measure on job advertising expanded 0.8 per cent in January, while annual growth returned to the black with +1.9 per cent, after a few months of running slightly negative.
While monthly results are prone to be noisy over the summer holiday season, there’s no mistaking that Auckland was the region driving job advertising higher in January. Its 8.1 per cent increase in the month followed a cumulative fall of 2.0 per cent over the final three months of 2019. For Wellington, it was more a case of building on recent solid gains, while Canterbury’s gain for January essentially moderated the degree of underlying weakness still coming through.
By industry, government and defence stood out amongst January’s risers, to once again be looking strong in a trend sense. Advertising for full time positions also staged a big rebound in the month, after being a key source of weakness over previous months.
As it turned out, employment was a bit flat over the closing months of 2019. Certainly, the December quarter measure from the Household Labour Force Survey was flat. However, the NZ unemployment rate dipped further, to 4.0 per cent, as the labour force participation rate eased to 70.1 per cent. Meanwhile, the new (and revised) monthly employment indicator from Statistics NZ exhibited a decent trend into the end of 2019. Put together these figures all suggest an underlying expansion in New Zealand’s labour market.]