Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says businesses are rehiring as coronavirus restrictions are easing, pointing to a strong economic recovery.
The National Skills Commission's vacancy report for September confirmed jobs advertisements posted on the internet rose 4.9 per cent, ending three months of decline.
This included a huge 16.7 per cent jump for positions in NSW as employers prepared for the state's reopening after a lengthy coronavirus lockdown.
"Businesses are rehiring as their doors are reopening, and we know that the Australian economy will rebound strongly as a ... result of the restrictions easing across the country," Mr Frydenberg told parliament on Wednesday.
Of the eight occupational groups monitored by the commission, demand was the strongest for sales workers, up 17.8 per cent.
Retailers are hoping to make up for the substantial trading losses they have suffered in recent months.
Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra says the lockdowns have had a significant impact on discretionary retailers and department stores in particular.
"With retail back up and running in NSW, the ACT and with Victoria to follow suit, businesses are looking to cash in with the return of customers for the Christmas shopping rush," Mr Zahra said.
"It's been a hellish three months or so for many people and businesses, but there's pent-up demand in parts of the country that have been locked down and people are looking forward to getting back out, shopping and supporting their favourite businesses."
The latest Mastercard SpendingPulse, which reports on national retail sales across all payment types, showed that while retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in September, they were down 0.8 per cent on the year.
Notably, annual sales were 32.5 per cent down in the ACT, 10 per cent lower in NSW and 7.9 per cent weaker in Victoria.
The lockdowns in these areas, representing over half the national population, are widely expected to have dragged the country into an economic contraction in the September quarter, possibly by as much as four per cent.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index declined to a negative 0.5 per cent in September from a positive 0.5 per cent in August, suggesting the economy will stumble below its long-term annual rate of 2.8 per cent.
The index - which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future - has been on the slide for five straight months, led by a steep drop in the hours work component.
Digital credit reporting agency CreditorWatch chief economist Harley Dale said the index highlights the difficulties households and small businesses faced during the September quarter.
"CreditorWatch has been saying for some time that we will see a strong bounce back in economic activity in the fourth quarter," Dr Dale said.
"It won't be easy for everybody given the extent of lockdowns, though. There are businesses that won't survive even despite their best efforts and there are many who have had to shut shop already."
It was the first time the index was in negative territory since September last year when the country was moving out of lockdowns.
"As we saw in 2020, the leading index is likely to recover quite quickly as Sydney and Melbourne reopen, consistent with that strong outlook for the first half of 2022," Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said.
Westpac expects the economy to expand by 1.6 per cent in the December quarter, before building towards a 5.6 per cent surge in the first half of 2022.
Australian Associated Press
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