In today’s Cairns Post Nick Dalton has a piece about youth unemployment in Cairns. Although we are gratified to discover that Nick is actually reading this blog, it appears that he is still somewhat confused about the actual data.
Nick says “Last month youth unemployment was 21.8 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.” when in fact the ABS youth unemployment rate for Cairns for May (last available data) was 8.3%; the ABS rate for April (which we suspect is the month that Nick is referring to) was 18.1%. The 21.8% that Nick quotes was actually the 12 month moving average of the ABS data (in April) which the Brotherhood of St Laurence have chosen to use as their preferred measure; this fell to 21.7% in May.
However, as we have pointed out on numerous occasions, the 12 month moving average is an extremely poor measure to use given the highly volatile nature of the base data. Our own Conus Trend series is much preferred. This originally stood at 19.4% in April (as Nick quotes) but was revised down to 16.7% in the light of the much improved May data. The Conus Trend for May now stands at 14.1%.
This remains too high, but headlines screaming about Cairns youth unemployment rates in excess of 20% are simply no longer tenable given the most recent data.
Thanks to Mark Beath at Loose Change for the heads-up.