The ABS Labour Force data for July shows the headline unemployment rate dropping to 5.7% (expectations had been stable at 5.8%) with the addition of 26,200 new jobs (expected +10K). However, all of the strength has come from the part-time sector which added a thumping 71,600 while the full-time data reversed strong gains last month to be down 45,400. If we consider the Trend series, which will “iron out” some of this volatility we see Trend employment grew by 11,800 in July and has risen by an average of 17,700 each month over the past year. The rate of Trend employment growth has fallen to just 1.8% pa; its slowest pace since June last year.
In Queensland, which has been suffering from a string of weak months, we finally see some relief. The headline unemployment rate fell to 6.1% (while June was also revised down to 6.3% from 6.5%). Employment grew by 12,300 although, as was the case nationally, all the gain was in the part-time sector (+12,600..NOTE; this figure is implied from the seasonally adjusted total and full-time data; ABS do not supply seasonally adjusted data for part-time jobs at a state level. Thanks to John McCarthy @ The Courier Mail) while full-time positions fell slightly (-300). The Trend unemployment rate remained stable at 6.3% (after June was revised to 6.3% from 6.5%). Trend employment, however, still fell by 1,500 which is now the 6th consecutive month of Trend declines; over the course of the past year Trend employment is up by a monthly average of just 700 while growth has fallen again to 0.4% pa.
Next Thursday sees the release of the ABS Regional Labour Force data at which point we will be updating the Conus Trend QLD Regional series. Given the relative strength in this QLD data for July we should expect to see some improvements in most regions.