Unemployment rate steady at 5.7% but QLD weaker again

Today’s release of the April Labour Force data from the ABS contains little to surprise at a national level, but the story for the Sunshine State is weaker again.

April saw 10,800 new jobs (although these were all part-time with full-time jobs falling by 9,300 seasonally adjusted) and the headline unemployment rate stable at 5.7%. Jobs growth is now at 2.1% pa with employment just about keeping up with working population growth; the employment:working population measure remains stable at 61.1, where it has been for three months. The less volatile Trend series sees the unemployment rate dip slightly to 5.7% from 5.8% although Trend employment registered its lowest growth since Sept 2014 (+4,100).

In Queensland the string of weaker numbers continues. Seasonally adjusted data shows a decline of 5,600 which is the third consecutive month of falls. As was the case nationally part-time jobs increased (although only by 1,200) while full-time positions fell by 6,800. The headline unemployment rate increased to 6.5% while March was revised higher to 6.2% (from 6.1%). The seasonally adjusted data at a state level has been highly volatile so we prefer to focus on the Trend series.

The Trend saw jobs fall by 4,100; the third month of consecutive falls and the worse result since Oct 2014. The Trend unemployment rate increased to 6.2% (after March was revised up to 6.1%). Trend employment is growing at just 1.5% pa which is simply not fast enough to keep up with working population growth (see the second chart below). As a result the employment:working population measure has fallen again to 61.3 . There can be little doubt that the labour market in Queensland is weak and getting weaker; in Trend terms only South Australia at 6.8% is worse than Queensland.

Regional labour force data will be released next Thursday, at which point we will be updating our Regional Queensland Conus Trend data.


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