Job vacancies in Australia hit record highs in the May quarter to be 57% above pre-pandemic levels, while businesses in all sectors reported difficulties in finding workers in a rapidly growing economy.
In a major boost for the employment outlook, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Thursday showed vacancies in the three months to May surged 23.4%, from the previous quarter, to 362,500.
That was 132,000 higher than in February last year before the coronavirus forced the closure of much of the economy.
While a fresh outbreak had recently closed some cities, the demand for labour showed no sign of waning with 22% of businesses reporting at least one vacancy.
“There has been a steady increase in the proportion of businesses reporting at least one vacancy, after it fell to 7% in May 2020, early in the pandemic,” said Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS.
“Businesses across all industries have reported difficulties in filling vacancies.”
Employment has beaten all forecasts in recent month to drive the jobless rate down to 5.1%, far from the top of 7.5% hit last July when lockdowns tipped the economy into recession.
The private sector led the charge with positions rising by almost a quarter to 203,00 in the three months to May, while public sector vacancies grew 10%.
The number of vacancies was highest in health and social assistance, followed by administrative positions, hotels and food, the retail sector and scientific and professional services.