Australian job vacancies surge in the three months to August

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Australian job vacancies surged in the three months to August, official data showed on Thursday, as the easing of coronavirus restrictions across much of the country spurred demand for labour.

Job vacancies jumped a whopping 59.4% in the three months to August after a record 43.2% slump between March and May, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed. There were 4.5 unemployed people per vacancy over that period, down from 7.1 in the three months to May.

Vacancies were well below pre-pandemic levels in the state of Victoria, which is in a coronavirus lockdown, as well as in New South Wales, which saw a spillover of infections from Victoria’s second wave of the novel coronavirus.

In contrast, vacancies were higher than pre-pandemic levels in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, and Northern Territory, signalling a rapid rebound in labour demand as mobility curbs to contain the virus eased.

Economists said interstate border restrictions could also have affected the ability of companies to fill positions.

The private sector was harder hit by the pandemic, with vacancies in there surging 65.4% in the three months to August after falling 44.9% in the three months to May. Public sector vacancies, meanwhile, increased 22% over that period, after a 29% fall the previous three months.

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