The good news for jobs continues in Cairns

After the bizarre jobs data last week (see here for commentary) it is worth remembering that on a Trend basis Queensland saw the unemployment rate tick up to 6.7% from 6.6%. Fortunately the story in the Far North is looking better than that, with yet another month of improvement in the Cairns Trend data.

As always, the headline un-adjusted data from the ABS should be put aside and rather the focus needs to be on the Conus Trend. This shows employment in Cairns increasing by 1,000 in August with positive revisions to previous months. Trend employment has now increased by 6,100 so far this year, compared to a 12,200 decline during 2013.

The Conus Trend unemployment rate now stands at 7.3% (unchanged from July, although July was revised down from 7.4%). This means that the Trend unemployment rate in Cairns has now fallen from 8.6% at the start of the year (at the same time the unemployment rate in QLD has gone up from 5.9% to 6.7%). The result for unemployment is made even more impressive when we consider that the Trend Participation Rate has also improved; up to 62.7 from 62.6 in July (which was itself revised sharply higher).

The Trend employment to working population ratio has now increased to 58.6 which is its highest level in a year.

To our south the apparently weaker picture continues. Trend employment in Townsville was up by just 900, with the Conus Trend unemployment rate rising to 9.2% (from 8.9% in July). The Trend Participation Rate in Townsville, which has been high, moves higher still to 67.5; it is this high PR which is keeping the unemployment rate so elevated. If we consider the employment to working population ratio the Trend here shows an improvement to 61.6 (like Cairns, its highest level in a year). In Townsville we are seeing a distorted picture when we consider the unemployment rate caused by the elevated Participation Rate.

Cairns now sits in 7th position; Ipswich is in top spot with a Conus Trend unemployment rate of 9.7% (down from 9.8% last month)

The improvements in youth unemployment in Cairns that we have witnessed over previous months seems to have stalled a little in August. The Conus Trend Youth unemployment rate has increased to 18.1% (from an upwardly revised 17.8% in July), although the 12 month moving average (the measure preferred by the Brotherhood of St Laurence) has declined to 19.7%; its first time below 20% this year.

As usual, the spreadsheet with all the QLD Regions’ Conus Trend employment numbers and unemployment rates is available for download. Please feel free to use this data, but when doing so please ensure to credit Conus. QLD Regions Jobs data – Conus Trend Aug 2014

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Also released today were quarterly employment data by industry. Gene Tunny at Queensland Economy Watch has taken a look at this and reckons that they don’t look good for the “four pillars” of the Queensland economy.

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