I’ve just arrived back on dry land so wanted to update the Dept of Employment Small Area Labour Market (SALM) data for the Sept quarter before the Christmas break.
The SALM data is based on a range of indicators including ABS Labour Force data for the SA4 areas, youth and Newstart allowance data and the 2011 Census data at the SA2 level. As such this series cannot be directly compared with the ABS unemployment rates at the SA4 area level (or the Conus Trend series which is derived from that data). The data is presented on a smoothed basis where the series is smoothed over a four quarter basis to remove regional volatility.
The results for the Sept 2015 quarter for our area show the unemployment rates in both the Cassowary Coast (8.0%) and Cairns (7.4%) having risen slightly from the previous quarter. While in Townsville the data shows a slight decline to 7.9%. As mentioned above, a direct comparison cannot be made with the Conus Trend series for the SA4 regions; but we can consider that over the course of the Sept quarter the average Conus Trend unemployment rate for the Cairns SA4 region (which includes both Cairns City and Cassowary Coast council areas) increased from about 8% to 8.3%; in Townsville the similar quarterly rate fell slightly from 7.8% to 7.5%. So we are seeing some degree of similarity in the two series and a common directional movement.
Since Sept the Conus Trend has suggested a healthy fall in the rate in the Cairns area with Townsville remaining stable.
Looking in detail at the Cassowary Coast data we see the Innisfail SA2 area with an unemployment rate at 11.7% (up from 11.2%), Tully at 6.3% (up from 5.9%) and Johnstone at 6.4% (up from 6.1%).