5 Sep 2018

Declining business confidence may increase unemployment

5:01 pm on 5 September 2018

The number of jobs advertised online has slowed as businesses show signs of being more reluctant to hire.

Job application online.

Businesses show signs of being more reluctant to hire. Photo: 123rf

ANZ's job ads index increased 0.6 percent in August, compared with the previous month's 3.2 percent rise.

The annual growth rate in advertising grew slightly to 5 percent, which was less than half the growth rate of a year ago.

ANZ's senior economist Liz Kendall said unemployment was likely to stay steady at the current 4.5 percent, but declining business confidence might change that.

"Given what we've seen in the business surveys, it [unemployment] is looking a little bit precarious now," she said.

"Firms are actually looking to cut back on the size of their workforce. What remains to be seen, is whether those hiring intentions actually do flow through into labour market outcomes."

Fewer jobs were offered in the retail and construction sectors, but more in healthcare and agriculture.

ANZ's most recent business survey found firms had negative hiring intentions and half of them thought the economy would worsen, taking business confidence to a decade-long low.