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Jobs Online monthly report – February 2010

Overview

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.

Key points

For the three months to February 2010, this month’s report shows that:

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.

Commentary

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)

Figure 1: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) and All Vacancies Index (AVI) Trend series (May 2007=100)

Data table for Figure 1

…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:

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.

Table 1: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by region
Region Nov 09 - Feb 10 Feb 09 - Feb 10
Nationwide 4.6% -8.7%
Auckland 5.4% -7.8%
Wellington 6.2% -17.1%
North Island - Other 6.2% 1.2%
Christchurch -1.1% -10.3%
South Island - Other -1.5% -13.0%

Detailed region charts and data

…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.

Table 2: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) by industry group

Industry group
Nov 09 - Feb 10 Feb 09 - Feb 10
Accounting, HR, legal, administration 2.2% -21.2%
IT 7.0% -12.1%
Construction and engineering -1.8% -37.7%
Education -2.9% -9.3%
Health and medical -6.9% -17.6%
Hospitality 4.3% 15.4%
Sales, retail, marketing, advertising 12.0% 27.9%
Other 7.7% 2.5%

Detailed industry charts and data

…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%).

Table 3: Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) for high level (1-digit ANZSCO) occupations
Occupation group Nov 09 - Feb 10 Feb 09 - Feb 10
All skilled occupations1 4.6% -8.7%
Managers 5.1% 10.5%
Professionals 3.5% -16.2%
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.

Detailed occupational charts and tables

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.

Table 4: Skilled occupations, annual percentage change1 to February 2010

Occupational Group
2-Digit Occupation Feb 09 - Feb 10
Total Skilled   -8.7%
Managers Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators -8%
Specialist Managers 3%
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%
Education Professionals 1%
Health Professionals -24%
ICT Professionals -27%
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.

Methodology

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.

For more on Jobs Online, see the Background and Methodology report at http://www.dol.govt.nzmethodology/ or email the Labour Market Skills Team at info@mbie.govt.nz.


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.