The release by the Dept of Employment of their Small Area Labour Market (SALM) data for the second quarter to June 2016 confirms the weaker story that we’ve been seeing in North Queensland (and in particular Townsville) for a while.
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 unemployment rate in the Cassowary Coast has moved higher again to 8.5% (from 8.2%). Within the Local Govt Area we see the unemployment rates in the SA2 regions of Innisfail (12.7%), Johnstone (6.7%) and Tully (6.5%) have all moved higher with Innisfail seeing the greatest increase.
In the Cairns Regional Council the unemployment rate has also edged higher to 7.8% (from 7.4%).
But it’s in Townsville City Council where we see the greatest move. The unemployment rate here has jumped to 9.2% (from 7.8%). Over the course of the year the labour force in Townsville (as measured in the SALM) has fallen by 8,672 with the number in work dropping almost 9,000. Yet another set of data which confirms the continuing weakness of the jobs market in Townsville.