Dept of Employment SALM data shows FNQ unemployment rates up in second quarter

After yesterday’s ABS regional jobs data (see here) showed some very modest improvement in the unemployment rate in the Cairns SA4 area (on the back of a fall in Participation rather than an improvement in jobs), today we get the Dept of Employment’s quarterly Small Area Labour Market (SALM) data for the second quarter.

The SALM estimates are created using data from Centrelink 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 on a smoothed 4 quarters moving average basis for both SA2 areas and Local Government Areas.

Considering the Local Government Area data we see that the smoothed unemployment rate in Cairns has increased to 7.1% (from 6.8%), Cassowary Coast is up to 7.6% (from 7.1%) while Townsville is up to 8.2% (from 8.1%). Although the LGA areas do not correspond to the SA4 areas for which we calculate the Conus Trend series, it is worth noting that in June the Cairns SA4 area (which includes the LGAs of Cairns, Douglas, Tablelands and CCRC) had a Conus Trend unemployment rate of 8.1% and has subsequently fallen slightly to 8%. We might therefore expect the third quarter SALM data to show some improvements across the FNQ LGAs. Townsville SA4, on the other hand, was at 8.3% in June measured by the Conus Trend and has subsequently moved much higher to 9%; the third quarter SALM data here is likely to show further weakness.


When we consider the SA2 data for the CCRC area we need to look at Innisfail, Johnstone and Tully. Although these three SA2s do not precisely correspond to the CCRC LGA, they are as close as we can get. For the second quarter Innisfail had an unemployment rate of 11.2% (up from 10.5%), Johnstone was at 6.1% (up from 5.7%) and Tully (which includes Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell) was at 5.9% (up from 5.4%) so it would appear that the increase in the unemployment rate has been fairly evenly spread across the region with Innisfail perhaps suffering slightly more than elsewhere.

Of the 77 Council areas in Queensland the Cassowary Coast sits almost in the middle with 32 Councils recording worse unemployment rates; such as Bundaberg (11.3%), Burdekin (8.2%), Charters Towers (11.4%), Cook (9.4%), Fraser Coast (12.4%), Gympie (10.6%), Hinchinbrook (9%), Logan (9%), Mareeba (8.7%), Rockhampton (8.4%), Tablelands (8.6%), Townsville (8.2%) and Whitsunday (10%).

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