SYDNEY, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements fell in December to end four straight months of gains, a survey showed on Monday, perhaps hinting at some moderation in labour demand as the year came to a close.
A monthly survey by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job advertisements fell 1.9 percent in December, from November when they rose 1.6 percent.
That saw the annual pace of job ads growth slow to 3.7 percent, from 6.0 percent in November. ANZ no longer provides a breakdown between internet job ads and those in newspapers, as the latter are now a tiny share of total ads.
“While a disappointing outcome, we see the labour market as losing some of its previously strong momentum, not stalling,” said ANZ senior economist Jo Masters. “Indeed, ANZ job ads rose by 0.5 percent over Q4 and in trend terms continue to rise.”
While the official jobless rate is relatively low at 5.7 percent, employment growth slowed markedly last year and hiring was skewed toward part-time positions.
Masters noted business and consumer confidence remained elevated, capacity utilisation appeared to be on the rise, and retail sales had strengthened in the last few months.
“As such, we continue to expect conditions in the labour market to support an ongoing, albeit gradual, decline in the unemployment rate this year,” she added. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer)