The number of job vacancies is a measure of the excess demand
for labour. A large number of job vacancies is consistent with an
economy in a growth phase with employers confident about the
future. A small number of job vacancies is consistent with an
economy in recession with employers more pessimistic about the
Job vacancy statistics
Statistics showing job vacancies within the economy are never as
complete as other labour force statistics because many vacant jobs
are filled by word of mouth processes or by processes which include
only those people currently employed by an enterprise. Nonetheless
changes in the number of job vacancies is a useful indicator of
future changes in employment.
There are three main sources of job vacancy statistics-the
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Department of
Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA) and the
ANZ Banking Group.
The ABS job vacancy series is based on a quarterly survey of
approximately 4 800 employers chosen to provide adequate State
and industry representation.
The ABS defines a job vacancy as a job available for immediate
filling at the time of the survey and for which recruitment action
had been taken. Vacancies for jobs only available to persons
already employed by an organisation are excluded. This point is
particularly relevant to the Australian Public Service and the
public services of the States and Territories.
Excluded also are vacancies of less than one day's duration; to
be filled by persons already hired, or by promotion or transfer of
existing employees; to be filled by employees returning from leave
or after industrial dispute; not available for immediate filling;
not available within the State or Territory to which the survey
return relates; for work to be carried out under contract; and for
which no effort is being made to fill the position.
All vacancies for wage and salary earners are represented in the
survey except those in the Australian permanent defence forces; in
businesses mainly engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing; in
private households employing staff; in overseas embassies and
consulates; and located outside Australia.
Figure 1 shows ABS seasonally adjusted job vacancy figures for
the period from May 1979 to August 1997.
DEETYA Skilled Vacancy Survey
The DEETYA Skilled Vacancy Survey (SVS) is a monthly survey that
provides an indication of relative demand for 16 skilled
occupational groups. The SVS is based on a count of vacancies
advertised in the major metropolitan newspaper of each State and
the Northern Territory..
ANZ Employment Advertisement Series
The ANZ Employment Advertisement Series measures the average
weekly number of job advertisements in Australia's major
metropolitan daily newspapers. Because it is not based on a
mathematically rigorous statistical survey technique, this series
cannot be considered to be as accurate or all-encompassing as the
ABS job vacancy series. However this deficiency is minimised if
analysis concentrates on monthly and annual percentage changes
rather than on absolute numbers.
This series does have the advantage that it is compiled monthly
and hence gives a more frequent snapshot of the demand side of the
labour market. In addition this series is timely; it is published
within days of the end of the month to which it refers. In contrast
the ABS job vacancy series lags six weeks behind the quarter to
which it refers.
Figure 2 shows the seasonally adjusted ANZ Employment
Advertisement Series since January 1975.
MESI Table 1.7
Monthly Economic and Social Indicators Table 1.7 shows:
- the monthly seasonally adjusted ANZ Employment
Advertisement Series; and
- annual percentage changes.
Monthly data are graphed to show the movement in the series over
the past few years.
This feature was prepared by Greg Baker.
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