Cairns Trend unemployment remains stuck at 8%

Regional labour market data for June released by the ABS this morning shows the position in Cairns stuck around a Trend unemployment rate of 8% and falling to 3rd worst place, from 4th last month; this month just Wide Bay (10.2%) and Logan-Beaudesert (9.0%) have higher rates of Trend unemployment.

The unadjusted ABS data are, as always, wildly volatile and can therefore be set aside in favour of the Conus Trend series. The Trend shows the Cairns unemployment rate at 8% (up from 7.8% in May, although this was itself revised down from 8%). Trend employment fell by 100 after the increase in May was revised up by 100 to 300; over the first 6 months of the year there has been an increase in Trend employment of 3,600. i.e. a monthly average increase of 600; clearly over the past few months employment growth has slowed from the faster rate seen at the start of the year. Trend Participation has remained stable at 61.0. The Trend Employment/Working Population data shows this measure also stable at 56.1.

When considering the gender split in Cairns we see the female Trend unemployment rate at 7.3% (up from 7.1% in May) while the male Trend unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.6%.

Youth unemployment rate (which is an even more volatile subset of the Cairns data and should therefore be treated with extreme caution) shows an unadjusted rise to 21.4% (from 16.5%). The Conus Trend youth unemployment rate has fallen slightly to 19.3% from 20% (although the May number was revised sharply higher from 18.3%). The gradual trend towards lower Trend youth unemployment remains in place (see the graph below) although at a slower rate than previously estimated.

To our south Townsville sees Trend unemployment stable at 7.6% (with May having been revised down) despite a drop of 1,000 in Trend employment (the same as in May). The reason for the apparent paradox is the fact that the Trend Participation rate in Townsville has been falling quite sharply over recent months. Trend Participation in Townsville has fallen from 67.1 at the start of the year to just 64.1 today. If we consider the chart below we see that the once healthy Trend Employment/Working Population measure has fallen steeply in recent months. This underlying weakening in the labour market in Townsville would go at least some way to explaining the decline in participation as people remove themselves from a weak labour market.

The full set of QLD Regions Conus Trend Labour Force data is available for download. Feel free to use this data but kindly acknowledge Conus if you do so. QLD Regions Jobs data – Conus Trend June 2015

The Cairns Region Gender Conus Trend Labour Force data is available by request.

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