6 Oct 2022

Drop in job advertisements shows labour market may have peaked - economist

6:28 pm on 6 October 2022
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The demand for workers in the real estate sector has cooled, reflecting the broader cool down in the property market. Photo: 123rf.com

An economist says some of the heat is coming out of the labour market, following a fall in job advertisements.

Figures from the job website Seek show job ads fell a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent in September, after gaining 3.5 percent in August.

Job listings were down 0.4 percent over the past three months but remain 22.4 percent higher than a year ago.

BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said the fall suggested the market had peaked.

"In fact, the trend measure has slipped a bit over recent months, albeit still near a record high level, and one approximately 50 percent north of the pre-pandemic marker of December 2019."

Other signs of softness were appearing in the data, he said.

"Not only was the trend in job ads starting to slip, from a peak, but the applications-per ad measure that Seek puts together was more clearly turning up now, after hints of such in the August numbers."

The figures gelled with findings from the recent survey of business opinion by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, which indicated firms were finding it slightly less difficult to find staff, he said.

"However, they also maintained a relatively upbeat outlook on hiring, which suggests that job advertising, while perhaps peaking, will probably not fall out of bed anytime soon, generally speaking."

The September report indicated a step-down in hiring demand from businesses connected to the real estate sector, reflecting the broader cool down in the property market.

Demand for real estate agents, finance staff and construction workers had cooled in the prior month.

But technology, marketing and government job listings grew over September.

"Hospitality and tourism also retained a broadly high level in trend terms, suggesting the recent burst of activity, after the Covid and border restraints were relaxed, hadn't run out of puff," Ebert said.

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