Australian job vacancies at highest in over a year

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SYDNEY (June 26): Job vacancies in Australia rose to their highest in over a year in the three months to May, a second straight quarter of gains that hint at a welcome sign of returning demand for labour.

Thursday's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed total job vacancies rose 2.6 percent in the three months to May in seasonally adjusted terms, following a 2.7 percent increase the previous quarter.

Vacancies of 147,100 were also up 2.6 percent on the same quarter last year and the highest since early 2013.

Vacancies in the private sector rose 1.3 percent in the May quarter, from the previous quarter. Public vacancies rebounded 17.6 percent but from historically very low levels. Employment in the public sector had been hit by belt tightening by Federal and state governments.

Analysts value the vacancies series as it has proved a reliable leading indicator of labour demand and turning points in employment. The pick up in vacancies should also help offset softness seen in some of the monthly indicators of job advertisements.