The official data for jobs in Feb shows 15,600 new jobs and a headline unemployment rate that has fallen to 6.3%. While the jobs number was slightly higher than expected, data for both Dec and Jan were revised down a total of 5,200 so the net result was in reality a little weaker.
The Trend unemployment rate stayed stable at 6.3% but the Trend employment data shows jobs growth slowing to 14,000 new jobs in Feb. Whilst this is the slowest growth in the past 5 months it remains above the 12 month average of 12,600.
Queensland data throws up some interesting points. Although there were a total of 8,100 new jobs (but full-time jobs fell 600), the headline seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate actually ticked higher to 6.7% (from 6.5%) on the back of a sharp move up in the Participation Rate. PR rose to 65.5 (from 65.3) which is its highest level in 6 months. The Trend data for QLD shows the pace of jobs growth actually picking up (slowly) and was 3,400 in Feb (the fastest growth in Trend jobs in the past 9 months). As a result the Trend unemployment rate dipped a touch to 6.5% (from 6.6%).
A focus on the Trend data would suggest that the picture in QLD may be seeing the beginning of some improvement; the next few months data will confirm whether that is indeed the case.