Job ads softer after earlier jump
What’s the latest on the employment market? BNZ Senior Economist Craig Ebert brings you this month’s insights.

With the year’s end almost here, job ads haven’t managed to sustain the encouragement we saw in September. However, most regions are still in the positive for annual job ad growth. Across the industries, Community Services & Development leads the way. Read on to see what’s happening in your region and industry.

Softness returns

September’s big jump in job advertising has been followed by softer months that have essentially given up those gains, with November’s print falling a seasonally adjusted 0.8%, after easing back 0.3% in October. This has all but flattened off the trend measure. This advanced just 0.1% in November. Flatness was also indicated by its annual rate of increase subsiding to -1.0%, while the seasonally adjusted index was down 0.8% compared to November 2018.

Wellington loses its mojo

The softness in job advertising has been associated with a loss of momentum in Wellington. The capital city has been central in driving things northward over the last many years. But its job ads fell a seasonally adjusted 2.3% in November. This dragged its annual growth down to 2.9%, having peaked at 23.1% back in February. Auckland, on the other hand, was doing its best to maintain a moderately positive trend increase.

Across the industries

The Community Services & Development leads as the sector with the highest job ad growth, followed by Government & Defence.

With an eye to what’s been undermining the overall results of late, the industries that put their hands up include Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Health & Medical, and Science & Technology. It’s interesting that these are predominantly service sector segments of the economy.

New monthly jobs indicator also soft

While we wouldn’t want to give too much weight to monthly data, we note there has also been weakness in the new monthly filled-jobs series published by Statistics New Zealand. This decreased 0.4% in October, after easing 0.3% in September. This reduced its annual rate of growth to 0.9% - warning that the Q4 Household Labour Force Survey results might be patchy.