Regional jobs data shows Cairns improvement stalled

After the confusion of the ABS revisions to the September labour force data (see here for details) it is perhaps not surprising to see the regional data also banging around. As always the headline data needs to be treated with a great deal of caution and, instead, focus should be on the Conus Trend data.

Whilst the Conus Trend data is derived from the original, unadjusted data (which does not get revised), we have a process by which the Conus Trend numbers are then adjusted slightly to ensure consistency with the Queensland-wide ABS Trend data. As a result the revisions to the Conus Trend data this month has been impacted, at least partly, by the ABS revisions to their Queensland Trend data for the past few months.

In Cairns the Conus Trend shows the unemployment rate stable at 7.5% (having seen both July and August revised up). The Trend number in employment fell 100 in Sept after large revisions downward to the numbers for July and August (as was the case for the State data). This sees the number of Trend jobs created in Cairns this year drop to just 3,200, against a number of 6,100 in August prior to the revisions. The Participation Rate in Cairns has also fallen (to just 61.7) after more downward revision to prior months. All of which brings the Conus Trend employment/working population ratio down to just 57.0. As we noted for Queensland last week, the Sept data suggests that the improvement we had been seeing in the Cairns jobs market throughout this year would appear to have come to a standstill.

To our south in Townsville the story is equally bleak, although here an increase in Participation is mitigating some of the bad news. The Conus Trend unemployment rate in Townsville has increased to 9.9% and is the highest in the State (after some hefty upward revisions to July and Aug) with Trend employment rising just 300 (again with July and Aug revised down). However, Participation has increased to 67.9 and as a result the Trend employment/working population ration is now up to 61.2, its highest level in a year.

Youth Unemployment in Cairns has also taken a turn for the worse with the (highly volatile) headline unemployment rate hitting 29.9% in Sept. The Conus Trend Youth Unemployment Rate ticked higher to 21.5% after more revisions to July and August. The Brotherhood of St Laurence preferred measure of the 12 month moving average moved up to 20.0% (back to where it was in July after a fall in Aug).

After a series or requests from readers we have included additional data into the Conus Trend QLD Regional data this month. The spreadsheet now includes Conus Trends for Employment, Unemployment, Unemployment Rate, Participation Rate and Employment/Working Population. Please feel free to download this data for non-commercial use, but ensure that you credit Conus if you use it. This and past releases are also now available on our Reports page. QLD Regions Jobs data – Conus Trend Sept 2014

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