While we were overseas for the Christmas break the Dept of Employment released their Sept Small Area Labour Market (SALM) data, which we have only now seen.
The SALM estimates are created using data from Centrelink data of people in receipt of Newstart and Youth Allowance by postcode, the ABS regional labour market data at SA4 level and the Census labour force data at SA2 level. These data sets are used to create the SALM estimations using a methodology called Structure Preserving Estimation (SPREE). Due to the highly volatile nature of this data the Dept presents the data as on a smoothed 4 quarters moving average basis.
The graph below plots those smoothed unemployment rates for our regional Local Government Areas.
The chart makes clear the gradual improvement that we have been seeing in the unemployment picture in the Far North but also the deterioration evident in Townsville (it is probably worth looking at this chart while also bearing in mind our most recent commentary regarding regional unemployment data). We should also bear in mind that the data used by the Dept of Employment to create this SALM series is significantly different to that used by the ABS (and Conus) for their SA4 level employment data.
The SALM data shows smoothed unemployment for the Sept quarter in Cairns at 7.0% (down from 7.4% in the previous quarter), CCRC at 7.0% (also down from 7.4%) and Townsville at 7.2% (up from 6.4%).
SALM is also available at a SA2 level of detail. When considering the Cassowary Coast we see that the unemployment rate in the Innisfail SA2 fell to 10.4% (from 11%), Johnstone fell to 5.8% (from 6.1%) and Tully (which includes Cardwell and Mission Beach) fell to 5.2% (from 5.5%). For comparison, in Sept the national Trend Unemployment rate was 6.2% and QLD stood at 6.6%; the Conus Trend Unemployment rates for the Cairns SA4 region (which includes CCRC) was 7.6% while Townsville SA4 was 10.1%.