Labour market continues to soften, report finds

February data from the Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey (REOS) was released today. 

Latest REOS results reflect a continued softening in labour market conditions, with key indicators from the survey remaining fairly flat over the month. Recruitment activity, as measured by the recruitment rate, increased slightly by 1 percentage point to 49% of employers in February 2024, while recruitment difficulty fell by 1 percentage point to 54%. 

These findings are consistent with an easing in other indicators of labour demand, including a decrease in online vacancies over the year, a slowing in the pace of employment growth, and an uptick in the unemployment rate in recent months. That said, employers were optimistic about the future, with 26% of employers surveyed last month expecting to increase their staffing levels in the next three months. 

Results by capital city and rest-of-state areas show some variance, however, and may reveal a different story is emerging. The recruitment rate in rest-of-state areas fell by 1 percentage point to 52%, while in capital cities it edged up by 2 percentage points to 47%. Recruitment difficulty in regional areas fell by 7 points to 57%, while in capital cities it increased by 3 points to 52%. 

As a leading indicator of employment and labour demand, the next few months of REOS data will be critical to help us to understand how 2024 labour market conditions are shaping up. 

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