MELBOURNE: Recruitment advertising fell by 30% in Australia in 2008 according to a survey by ANZ Bank; while Bloomberg reports a decline of 9.7% in job ads in December alone, taking figures to the lowest level since 1999.

A total of 190,661 job ads were published in print and online in December, down from 211,199 in November, and by 23.4% year-on-year.

Newspaper recruitment advertising fell month-on-month by 13.9% in December to an average of 10,100 weekly, and was down by over 50% compared with December 2007.

December's online recruitment figures were also down on the previous month by 9.5% to 180,500 weekly, and fell 28.1% on the year-ago period.

Warren Hogan, ANZ's head of Australian economics, offered a downbeat analysis: "The rate of decline in job advertising intensified in the month of December, providing further evidence that the demand for new labour across the Australian economy is now at recession levels."

ANZ estimates that a total of 21,000 jobs were lost in December, taking the unemployment rate to 4.6%, and forecasts this figure will rise to 6% in 2009.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff