© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers are reflected in an office building’s windows in Sydney’s Barangaroo business district in Australia’s largest city, May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Job vacancies in Australia eased in the three months to February, the third straight quarter of decline, but still far above pre-pandemic levels in a sign of a still tight labour market.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) out on Thursday showed vacancies in the February quarter fell 1.5%, from the previous quarter, to 438,500.
That was the lowest number in a year, but still 92% higher than in February 2020 before the pandemic struck.
“There is still a very high demand for labour from employers across Australia and across all industries,” said Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics.
“This continued to be most acute in the Accommodation and food services and Arts and recreation services industries, where vacancies were around three to four times what they were before the pandemic.”
The strength of the labour market is one reason the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has raised interest rates ten times since May to 3.60%.
Thursday’s data showed vacancies in the private sector dipped 1.5% in the February, while the public sector saw a drop of 1.4%. The number of vacancies was highest in public administration followed by the accommodation and food sector, health care and education.