With the unemployment rate unexpectedly falling to 5.8% in March the job market is finally showing signs of stability.
In fact we might have seen the worst when the jobless rate reached 6.1% in February earlier this year.
According to ANZ Chief Economist Ivan Colhoun, “There is now clearer evidence that labour demand is strengthening. Each of the main job ads/vacancies measures have risen this year, while some have been improving since the end of last year. Importantly, there has been strength in job advertising in some key industries, including construction, education and health, as well as in the most populous states of NSW and Victoria. This suggests that conditions in the labour market are beginning to improve, despite recent job loss announcements in a number of companies.”
Here is a quick overview of where things are sitting in March with the latest ABS Labour force figures;
- Unemployment rate in March falls to 5.8% and is now trending at 6%.
- Total employment seasonally adjusted increased by 18,100 and now trending at an increase 14,200.
- Total people employed now sits at 11,553,200 (8m Full time and 3.5m part time) and is trending at 11,531,600 with a participation rate of 64.7%
Amongst other indicators of the positive trends in the job market is the increase in Seek’s new job ads. The new job ad numbers improved by 1.1% in March and represent a 2.1% increase on March last year. For now the labour market is improving more quickly that it’s been previously forecasted.
What does all this mean for employers?
Our message is simple – get prepared now and start your recruitment process a month before you normally would. Last year it may have taken a couple of weeks to secure the right person, expect that time frame to start extending to three or four weeks as we progress through 2014.
Don’t rush the hiring process but be prepared to spend a bit more time ensuring that you get the best possible person for your business. Most employers have found it easy to recruit since the GFC simply because a lot more people were available and were more flexible to take on whatever work was on offer. That will change as the Labour Market returns over the course of 2014 and early 2015. You will need to put more time and effort into the recruitment process to ensure that you are making the right hiring decisions.