Federal Politics

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Vacancies: Jobs market the best in three years

It's easier to find a job than it has been in years.

The latest Bureau of Statistics survey shows there were 170,400 vacant jobs in November, up from 152,600 the year before.

It's the best result since 2012.

The Bureau's survey is more comprehensive than private-sector counts of advertisements as it includes all vacancies, whether advertised or not.

When combined with the Bureau's labour force survey, it implies there were four unemployed Australians chasing each vacant job in November, down from 4.7 a year ago.

Things have improved in all states but Western Australia and the Northern Territory.


In NSW there are only 3.3 unemployed chasing each vacancy, down from 4.1, in Victoria 4.6 unemployed for each vacancy, down from 5.8, in Queensland 4.3, down from 5.4, and in the Australian Capital Territory only 1.7, down from 2.2.

In the ACT there were 1600 public-sector vacancies, the most since the hiring restrictions imposed by the Abbott government at the end of 2013.

The job vacancy figures are important because they lend weight to official employment figures, which have come under attack for being unrealistically positive, showing an extra 71,400 Australians gained jobs in November - more than 2300 per day.

Prepared separately by surveying employers rather than workers, the vacancy survey suggests things are really picking up.

"The vacancy figures reflect positive consumer and employment sentiment across the Australian economy and is welcome news." employment minister Michaelia Cash said.

"Seeing vacancies the highest they have been in three years shows the government's plan to strengthen the economy and stimulate stronger jobs growth is working. These figures are positive, but there is still work to be done."

The figures show retailing had 23,600 vacancies in November, more than any other industry. Tourism had 17,900, and the professional and administrative sectors 19,700 and 23,200. In contrast, mining had just 3900 vacancies, and manufacturing 8700.

The worst place to find work in November was Tasmania, where there are 6.2 unemployed for each vacancy, down from 7.6. Western Australia moved from near the top of the pack with only 2.6 unemployed per vacancy, to nearer the bottom with 4.6 unemployed for each job.

The December employment figures are out on Thursday.

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