IT holds its own although job index flattens in November

13 out of 21 industry sectors drop

Information technology was able to hold its own during the month of November although jobs generally flattened for this period, according to the Olivier Internet Job Index.

A total of 13 out of 21 industry sectors surveyed dropped with the index reporting a marginal increase of just 0.46 per cent (seasonally adjusted) for Australian job ads on the Internet. It is the smallest increase in the index since August 2006.

Olivier Group director, Robert Olivier, said its analysis shows that an easing of demand for workers early in the month which suggests that the interest rate increase was a factor.

"Corporate Australia may be wondering how deep the credit crunch will go, especially with banks raising interest rates on their own initiative. The market has softened, although historically job demand is volatile at this time of the year," Olivier said.

The election wasn't a big factor in employer confidence last month.

"We saw an increase in job ads in the last week of the month just when the people went to the polls. But you'd forgive employers for some nervousness now the reality of a new government is here," he said.

"Employers factored in a change of government but now business is asking what will replace WorkChoices.

"Informed opinion says that the Australian economy may be overheated and many commentators speculate that the new federal government will face a recession," he said.

"As a lead indicator the Olivier Internet Job Index will provide early warning of a flattening economy.

"Or in the short term it may continue to provide evidence of demand pushing up wages and inflation."

The interest rate increases have already had an effect on the building and construction sector with job ads down by 6.26 per cent.

Olivier said IT is holding up well with a 3.82 per cent increase in the month, growing in all states, except Victoria.

He said the multimedia, internet and graphics sector grew 5.10 per cent in the month.

Job ads in most states fell in November although Western Australia continues to prosper with an increase of 4.6 per cent in the month, principally driven by trades.

NSW outperformed the national index increasing by 1.14 per cent while Victoria fell by 1.77 per cent.

Graduate numbers were up 4.76 per cent in the month, reflecting the end of the university year.

Olivier saw a 49 per cent increase in graduate opportunities compared to this time last year.

"Perhaps because there's so few of them left; anyone looking now would find slim pickings," Olivier said.

- with Sandra Rossi

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