Jobs Online monthly report – February 2010
Jobs Online measures changes in job vacancies advertised on the main internet job boards.
Jobs Online shows the positive growth in job advertisements that began in mid 2009 has continued through to February 2010. In conjunction with other indicators, this shows employment prospects in the economy are improving.
While job advertisements fell sharply between February 2009 and July 2009 as the recession impacted on the labour market, the recent increase in job vacancies highlighted by Jobs Online is a positive indicator that the labour market is recovering.
For the three months to February 2010, this month’s report shows that:
- The number of advertisements for skilled jobs increased by 4.6%, with total advertisements increasing by 6.6%.
- Skilled vacancies in the North Island have increased strongly – particularly for Wellington (6.2%, compared with a 0.1% decrease in last month’s report). However, the South Island had a slight decline in skilled vacancies: down 1.1% for Christchurch and down 1.5% for the rest of the South Island.
- Most industries (hospitality; accounting, HR, legal and administration; sales, retail, marketing and advertising; and IT) experienced increases in job advertisements of between 2% - 12%.
- Education, construction, and engineering vacancies fell by between 2% - 3%. However, the rate of fall appears to be slowing significantly – down from the 9% reported in last month’s report. This may signal a rebound for advertised vacancies in these areas in the near future. Healthcare and medical advertised vacancies experienced stronger decline.
Since June 2009, Jobs Online has highlighted a sustained recovery in advertised vacancies. While encouraging, the number of skilled job advertisements for February 2010 remains 9% lower than in February 2009 and 43% lower than March 2008, when the index was at its peak.
Job advertisements continue to increase…
Jobs Online shows the overall positive growth in job advertisements that began in mid 2009 has continued through to February 2010. While the recession caused job advertisements to fall sharply between February 2009 and July 2009, the recent increase in job vacancies highlighted by Jobs Online is a positive indicator that the labour market is recovering.
Figure 1 below shows that total vacancies have grown consistently since June 2009, rising by 14.5%. In the three months to February 2010, total vacancies grew by 6.6%.
Skilled vacancies have increased by 10.7% since June 2009, and by 4.6% in the three months to February 2010. Skilled vacancies did not fall quite so far or as fast as total vacancies, and so have slightly less ground to recover.
Figure 1: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) and All Vacancies Index (AVI) Trend series (May 2007=100)
…indicating that job prospects for many are improving…
Jobs Online, in conjunction with other indicators such as NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion and the National Bank’s Business Outlook, indicate that employment prospects in the economy are improving.
While firms' employment and investment intentions are still at subdued levels, these have been improving and continue to trend upwards in line with marginally increasing business activity.
…however, unemployment may not yet have peaked.
Despite the recent growth in advertised vacancies indicated by Jobs Online, the Department expects the unemployment rate to peak in the middle of 2010 at slightly above its current rate of 7.3%.
This is because any additional job growth must also cover:
- an increase in the number of people actively looking for work. (For instance, many discouraged workers facing unemployment decided to study instead, or to leave the labour market entirely. As the recession eases, some of these people may decide to officially re-enter the labour market.)
- school leavers entering the work force.
- further job losses as businesses continue to struggle with the after-effects of the recession.
- Continued numbers of New Zealanders returning home to look for work, after becoming discouraged with their employment prospects overseas.
These factors help explain why the unemployment rate rose over the December 2009 quarter to 7.3%, even while job advertisements during that period were growing.
Job advertisements have increased in most regions…
Skilled vacancies have increased strongly in the North Island over the three months to February 2010, particularly for Wellington compared to last month’s report. However, the South Island had slight declines in advertised vacancies during this period.
On balance, there was a 4.6% increase nationwide over the three months to February 2010. Despite recent gains, total skilled vacancies are 8.7% lower than their level from 12 months prior.
|Region||Nov 09 - Feb 10||Feb 09 - Feb 10|
|North Island - Other||6.2%||1.2%|
|South Island - Other||-1.5%||-13.0%|
…and more industries look to be rebounding…
As detailed in Table 2 below, the categories of IT; hospitality; and sales, retail, marketing and advertising enjoyed continued advertisement growth of between 2% - 12% in the three months to February 2010. Furthermore, vacancies for the accounting, HR, legal and administration category increased by 2.2% over the same period - a turnaround compared to last month’s decrease of 2.4%.
While job advertisements for education, construction, and engineering have fallen slightly by 2% - 3%, the rate of decline appears to be slowing significantly – down from the 9% reported in last month’s report. This may signal a rebound for advertised vacancies in these areas in the near future.
However, construction and engineering vacancies have significant ground to make up before they reach the levels of February 2009. Furthermore, healthcare and medical advertised vacancies declined by a further 6.9%, continuing the trend from last month’s report.
|Nov 09 - Feb 10||Feb 09 - Feb 10|
|Accounting, HR, legal, administration||2.2%||-21.2%|
|Construction and engineering||-1.8%||-37.7%|
|Health and medical||-6.9%||-17.6%|
|Sales, retail, marketing, advertising||12.0%||27.9%|
…with vacancies increasing across skilled occupation groups
Vacancy growth over the three months to February 2010 has been reasonably evenly spread across the major skilled occupation groups, as shown in Table 3 below. Job advertisements for technicians and trades workers showed the strongest growth over the quarter (up 5.6%), closely followed by managers (up 5.1%).
|Occupation group||Nov 09 - Feb 10||Feb 09 - Feb 10|
|All skilled occupations1||4.6%||-8.7%|
|Technicians and trades workers||5.6%||-4.0%|
1 Includes people in skilled occupations within other 1-digit groups, which are shown in Table 3 below.
Table 4 on the following page takes a more detailed look at occupational groups, and shows that despite recent gains, vacancies for most skilled occupations have yet to return to their levels of February 2009.
|2-Digit Occupation||Feb 09 - Feb 10|
|Managers||Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators||-8%|
|Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers||-3%|
|Professionals||Arts and Media Professionals||-29%|
|Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals||-25%|
|Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals||-40%|
|Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals||-22%|
|Technicians and Trades Workers||Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians||-25%|
|Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers||-2%|
|Construction Trades Workers||15%|
|Electro-technology and Telecommunications Trades Workers||-26%|
|Food Trades Workers||-1%|
|Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers||-14%|
|Other Technicians and Trades Workers||-5%|
|Community and Personal Service Workers||Health and Welfare Support Workers||-21%|
|Sports and Personal Service Workers||-19%|
|Clerical and Administrative Workers||Office Managers and Program Administrators||4%|
|Personal Assistants and Secretaries||-32%|
|Inquiry Clerks and Receptionists||33%|
|Other Clerical and Administrative Workers||-29%|
|Sales Workers||Sales Representatives and Agents||-33%|
1 Compares the average number of job advertisements for the three months to February 2010 with the average number for the three months to February 2009. Note: this is not a trend series, and so differs from annual comparisons for the Skilled Vacancy Index. It is not yet possible to create a seasonally adjusted series for this table, as some of these occupational groups are fairly small and the series has been running for such a short time.
Jobs Online includes two separate indices: the All Vacancy Index (AVI) tracks all job vacancies listed, and the Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) looks closer at skilled occupations1. The Skilled Vacancies Index is broken down further by detailed occupation, location and industry type. The results are presented as an index that measures changes in the number of job advertisements.
Vacancies are highly seasonal: for instance, there is usually a substantial fall in the numbers of jobs advertised during December and then a small increase in February. To remove such seasonality, the Jobs Online data reported here has been converted to a trend series2, allowing us to compare figures between months.
Jobs Online replaces the previous Job Vacancy Monitoring Programme, which gathered data on job advertisements placed in newspapers. Jobs Online allows us to access a considerably larger number of advertisements in a timelier manner, and better reflects the dominance of online advertising in the recruitment sector, particularly in terms of advertised vacancies for skilled labour.
1 Skilled occupations are defined as skill levels 1-3 under the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Skill level 3 is equivalent to an NCEA level 4 qualification. Vacancies for occupations outside these groups are much less likely to be advertised and may not be representative of labour market changes.
2 Trend series have had both the seasonal and irregular components removed, and reveal the underlying direction of movement in a series.