Data released by ANZ has revealed a sharp fall in the number of newspaper job advertisements fuelling fears that unemployment could jump in the year ahead.
According to ANZ the total number of jobs advertised in major metropolitan newspapers and on the internet fell by 9.7 per cent in December to a weekly average of 190,661 per week – 29.9 per cent lower than 12 months before.
Newspaper advertisements in particular slumped to be 51.8 per cent down on December 2007.
Warren Hogan, ANZ head of Australian economics, said the intensification in the rate of decline in job ads in December provided further evidence that demand for labour was at recession levels.
“A 50 per cent decline in newspaper job advertising in a year is historically consistent with economic recession within the next nine months and a rise in the unemployment rate over the following years,” he said.
“What these numbers do not tell us is the likely extent of labour shedding across corporate Australia, which remains in a relative strong financial position compared to the periods prior to previous recessions.”
ANZ is now forecasting the unemployment rate to hit six per cent in 2009 and rise to 4.6 per cent this week when the RBA releases employment figures for December on Thursday.
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