Job vacancy numbers for both the private and public sectors climbed in the three months to November, although not enough to record an annual rise.
Vacancies were up by a seasonally adjusted 1.6 per cent over the November quarter – breaking two previous quarters of decline – including a 1.6 per cent drop in August that was restated from the previous 1.9 per cent fall.
Employers in November advertised 239,400 positions, according to the data released on Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Private sector vacancies rose 1.5 per cent for the quarter, while in the public sector the gain was 2.7 per cent.
Callam Pickering, an economist for jobs site Indeed, said the latest data showed the economy and labour market was stagnating.
While vacancies may have increased for the quarter, there were fewer than there were a year ago, Mr Pickering said.
Competition for jobs was also greater.
Mr Pickering noted the number of unemployed people per vacancy remained at three in November, which was higher than the 2.8 figure from a year ago.
“Australia’s unemployed face a very simple equation: Australia isn’t creating enough jobs,” he said.
“And when it does, it doesn’t create enough full-time opportunities.”
The impact of the bushfires which have ravaged the country may also affect the labour market in the coming months, Mr Pickering said.
ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said the quarterly increase partly reflected some businesses bringing forward recruitment from February to November.
For the year, vacancies were down by 0.9 per cent to 239,400.
In original terms, the Australian Capital Territory experienced the strongest percentage growth in vacancies from the corresponding quarter in 2018, while the largest percentage decrease occurred in the Northern Territory.
The ‘administrative and support services’ category had the most positions available in the November quarter – 46,500 in original terms – followed by health care and social assistance with 28,000.