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Australia job vacancies rise 1.4% to fresh record in Feb quarter

[SYDNEY] Job vacancies in Australia rose to a fresh all-time peak in the three months ended February, a major relief for policy makers that are pinning their hopes on the resilience of the labour market.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has often cited the strength of vacancies as a major reason for its optimism that continued jobs growth will lift the economy out of a soft spot.

Total job vacancies rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4 per cent to 245,300 in the Dec-Feb quarter, from the previous quarter when they increased by an upwardly revised 1.5 per cent, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Thursday.

That was the highest reading since the series began in 1979. Vacancies were up 9.9 per cent on a year earlier, although the pace of growth did slow from the previous quarter.

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Vacancies in the private sector rose 1.8 per cent to 224,100, again the highest on record. That was up 10.1 per cent on the previous year. The public sector saw vacancies dip 1.7 per cent to 21,200.

Analysts value the vacancies series as it has proved a reliable leading indicator of labour demand and turning points in employment growth.

REUTERS