Cairns Youth Unemployment shows some improvement

Following a wonderful, if rather rough, week out of touch in the Coral Sea, we’re back in the saddle today. Looking back at last Thursday’s regional jobs data for March (which we commented on at the time), I have today taken a look at the youth (15-24yr) jobs data which had been getting some publicity in recent months (see a good piece from Gene Tunny at Queensland Economy Watch).
As we have previously noted, this data is volatile in the extreme due to the tiny number of respondents within the labour force survey who would be 15-24yrs old and in the Cairns area. However, if we look through the headline data (which saw a sharp fall in the unemployment rate from 26% to 20.8%) our Conus Trend series hopefully gives us a clearer (although still suspect, given the size of the data set) picture. Here we see the Trend unemployment rate falling from 20.6% in Feb to 20.2% in March. Indeed the Trend rate has declined from a recent high of 26.8% in July 2013. This is clearly still too high but it is at least encouraging to see the trend heading in the right direction (particularly in light of the deterioration in the Trend unemployment rate in Cairns generally)
The Brotherhood of St Laurence (who have been banging the youth employment rate drum) appear to have been using a simple 12 month moving average as their preferred measure (which we would argue is highly suspect). Unfortunately on this measure the youth unemployment rate in Cairns increased in March to 21.8% (from 21.6%), so we can expect more media hype on the data: Hopefully that all happened while we’ve been incommunicado.

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