Australia’s job ads fell by 6.7 percent over June, after registering relatively stable figures in May.

The total number of jobs listed in the Australian press and on Web sites averaged just 127,346 a week over the month. It is lowest figure recorded since ANZ began recording the volume of national job ads in 1998.

Internet job listings were particularly hard hit, falling by 7.2 percent to an average of 119,154 listings a week: a 52 percent fall from a year ago. Meanwhile, newspaper listings lifted by 0.9 percent to an average of 8,192 a week. That followed a 1 percent decline in newspaper listings over May.

It was the 14th month in a row that job listings in Australia have declined, indicating that the country’s unemployment rate — which currently stands at 5.7 percent — may soon be heading upward.

“With both the Internet and newspaper series down by over half in the past year, this key leading indicator of labour demand suggests that hiring intentions by Australian business are still weak,” ANZ head of economics Warren Hogan said.

“Thus far however, this retrenchment in new labor demand has not shown up as a significant fall in the level of employment in the economy. Business may not be hiring but so far it appears that labor shedding has been quite subdued in comparison to previous economic downturns. Indeed, labor hoarding appears to be lasting longer in this economic downturn than in the past.”

Hogan also said that most of Australia’s increase in unemployment to date has been driven by workforce growth rather than as a result of job shedding. However, he expects Australia’s jobless rate to rise to 5.9 percent when the country’s Reserve Bank releases its data for the June quarter later week.

Hogan also expects that Australia’s unemployment will tip 8 percent some time in 2010.

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