Data catch up post holidays

I’ve been away enjoying some snow in Japan so have missed the past two week’s of data since the New Year. This post is an abridged version to simply update some charts and make a few comments…

Building Approvals.

The November nationwide approvals numbers (seasonally adjusted) saw a big dip (-12.7% m/m for a 8.4% decline for the year) on the back of a 24% m/m decline in unit approvals. A focus on the less volatile Trend data still shows a slowdown with Trend approvals down 1.9% m/m for a 2.4% yr/yr drop (which is the worst Trend result since May 2012).

In QLD things looked significantly healthier. Seasonally adjusted data showed a 9.4% gain for the month, up 20.9% for the year. The rise was almost exclusively due to unit approvals (+18.9% m/m) with house approvals virtually flat. The Trend data showed a 0.9% m/m increase for a 11% increase over the year. Clearly a slowdown in unit approvals in QLD (reflecting the national position) would see the totals start to decline…time will tell.

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In our neck of the woods the regional Conus Trend data showed Cairns (incl Douglas Shire) at 88 (up from an upwardly revised 81 in Oct). This is an increase in the Conus Trend of 52.3% from a year ago and demonstrates that the strength in Cairns continues unabated.

The slowdown in the Cassowary Coast appears to have been cemented with the Conus Trend stable at 7 (after Oct was revised down to 7 from 9). Trend is now down 19% from a year ago.

Likewise in Townsville, the dramatic slowdown in the Conus Trend series continues. Nov saw Trend approvals at 83 (unchanged from Oct) for a 42.2% decline on the year.

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Short Term Arrivals and Departures

The November Short Term arrivals and departures data confirms the tourism market improvements continue; being led by very strong data from the Chinese market.

Arrivals were up 11.5% from a year ago and up 7% for the past 12 months. The Chinese have now exceeded the 1 million mark for the past 12 months (in both the seasonally adjusted and Trend series) for the first time. Seasonally adjusted data showed a 26.8% increase from a year ago while the Trend data had it even stronger at +27.8%.

Departures were up just 3.6% from a year ago.

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Labour Force

The labour force data for Dec surprised on the upside (again!) with the headline, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 5.8% despite a small decline in employment (down 1,000). However, all the declines came from part-time jobs with full-time positions up 17,600. The Trend data showed the unemployment rate falling from 5.9% to 5.8% on the back of an extra 27,500 in work. Clearly the labour market is far more robust than many commentators had been forecasting.

In QLD the stronger story continued. Seasonally adjusted data saw the unemployment rate fall to 5.8% (from 5.9%) with 6,700 new jobs (2,200 of which were full-time). The Trend data has the unemployment rate at 5.9% (down from 6%) with 6,200 new jobs added. As the second chart below shows, we have been seeing Trend jobs growth outstripping the growth of the working population for at least the past 12 months. As a result the employment:working population measure in QLD has improved from 60.9 to 61.8 in the past year.1601165

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