Job ads are on a sharper upward trend than ever before but is it really a boom?

Figures have been released showing that Australia-wide for all occupations, the number of job advertisements (on the internet) was 16% higher in February 2021 compared to February 2020. February 2020 was still pre-Covid. From next month, the previous years comparisons will be to Covid periods. 

Job ad numbers in the legal sector have been slower to rise compared to the rest of the economy. However, now solicitor job ads are also rising significantly but still 23% below that of one year ago. In December 2020 and January 2021 it was 30% below the same months of the previous year.

The government data (Internet Vacancy Index) shows that occupations with the largest increase compared to February 2020 were Labourers, Machinery Operators and Drivers and Community and Personal Service Workers. These are all signs of a growing economy.

Month on Month gains were strongest for Professionals, hence the upswing in demand for solicitors.

At this point it is good to have a reminder about the employment market during the second half of 2019 and immediately prior to Covid. In short it was not great. Demand for employees was heading downwards even before Covid hit, after which it plummeted.

The question is whether we are having a genuine employment boom at the moment? The answer is yes, compared to 2019 and 2020 but no compared to the couple of years prior to that. We are returning to levels recorded in 2018. However if the current trend continues then this question may need to be reconsidered.