We have taken some time to analyse the Dept. of Social Service data set for payments of Newstart and Youth Allowances since Dec 2011. When looking at data for our region we have summed the totals for the Atherton, Cairns, Innisfail, Mareeba, Mossman and Yarrabah Service Zones. These Service Zones, when taken together, may not precisely correspond to the Cairns SA4 region but would appear to be as good an approximation as we can get.
It also needs stressing that how the Dept of Social Service count those who are seeking jobs and receiving allowances is very different from how the ABS define someone as unemployed. The Dept data is provided on an unadjusted, original basis and we have therefore created a Conus Trend series for both the number of Job Seekers as well as the Job Seeker Rate (to calculate which we have used the Conus Trend Labour Force data).
Both charts (see below) confirm the slightly better picture that we have been seeing in Cairns for a few months (see our commentary about the most recent Trend Cairns Labour Force data). Trend Job Seekers appear to have fallen from their highs; although any decline is very limited. The Trend Job Seeker Rate is stable (at best) and may even be rising slightly, although it is still down from recent highs.