SYDNEY, March 6 (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements dipped in February but only backtracked a little on the hefty gain enjoyed in January, leaving annual growth in ads at healthy levels, a survey showed on Monday.
A monthly survey by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job advertisements eased 0.7 percent in February, from January when they jumped 3.9 percent.
Ads were still 6.9 percent higher than in February last year. ANZ no longer provides a breakdown between internet job ads and those in newspapers, as the latter are now a tiny share of total ads.
“Some moderation in job ads is not unexpected given the strong January result and may reflect the tricky nature of seasonal adjustment at this time of the year,” said ANZ head of Australian economics, David Plank.
“Looking ahead, strength in business conditions, firms’ profitability and an increase in capacity utilisation all point to an improvement in labour market conditions in our view,” he added. “Overall, we expect the unemployment rate to slowly edge downward through 2017.”
The official jobless rate remains relatively low at 5.7 percent, though employment growth slowed last year and hiring was skewed toward part-time positions.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cited a rise in unemployment as one of the few developments that could make it consider a further cut in interest rates.
The central bank holds its March policy meeting on Tuesday and is considered certain to keep rates at 1.5 percent, where they have been since last August. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)