Labour market on steady recovery despite gloomy stats

Online job ads have almost doubled since this time last year, indicating the labour market may be recovering faster than the new gloom unemployment figures may portray. While the latest official figures show a higher than expected rise in unemployment to 6.8%, according to Seek New Zealand, job advertisements are up 45% year-on-year signalling a more promising quarter ahead. Seek New Zealand general manager Annemarie Duff said the June quarter unemployment rate is a retrospective look at April, May and June and doesn't take into account strong ad volumes for July.

Online job ads have almost doubled since this time last year, indicating the labour market may be recovering faster than the new gloom unemployment figures may portray.

While the latest official figures show a higher than expected rise in unemployment to 6.8%, according to Seek New Zealand, job advertisements are up 45% year-on-year signalling a more promising quarter ahead.

Seek New Zealand general manager Annemarie Duff said the June quarter unemployment rate is a retrospective look at April, May and June and doesn’t take into account strong ad volumes for July.

“True, we have experienced a more sluggish May and June but the latest July results paint a much brighter picture. The number of new job ads is up by 6.3% in July alone.”

Ms Duff said while July experienced the biggest leap this year, it is the third “real positive” growth since January.

“We have seen over the past 12 months a slow continued pattern of growth; it has been a continued pattern of growth as opposed to a drastic change, which from our perspective makes us feel that the next quarter of the second half could be a little bit more positive than the unemployment figures,” she said.

“Our perspective is that we are going to see that growth continue; the Seek indicators for July 2010 are the first indicators for the September quarter.”

According to Seek Employment Index (SEI) jobs advertised in July were up 5.2%, which alone contributes to a 30% improvement since July last year.

The SEI is the ratio of new job ads placed on the website during the month to the number of applications for those jobs.

Regional North Island has seen the most significant increase in the SEI with overall growth of 8.5% in July, closely followed by 7.2% rise for Auckland.

“That means the applications are falling off compared with the number of new job ads which means the labour market is tightening,” Ms Duff said.

The recovering labour market is not just favourable for job seekers but also employers, as they are not bombarded with hundreds of applications, but rather with people who more accurately fit the job criteria.

Businesses also report more confidence and stability, hiring more people and replacing staff, who have been laid off over the past two years, Ms Duff said.