Today’s release of labour force data for December 2016 show the headline (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for the nation edged higher to 5.8%; although the Trend series remained unchanged at 5.7%. The increase came despite another increase in the number employed by 13,500 reflected in an increase in the Participation Rate to 64.7. Most of the increase came from full-time positions which were up 9,300 for the month.
In Queensland the seasonally adjusted data showed a decline of 13,700 in work (after a very strong increase of 38,700 last month). In spite of the Participation Rate dipping to 64.1 the headline unemployment rate increased to 6.2% (while the Trend unemployment rate last month was revised up to 6.0%, where it also sits this month). The Trend series showed employment in Queensland was up 400 in December, which represents the first and only positive read for the year. Over the course of 2016 the seasonally adjusted data shows a decline of 34,400 while the Trend drops by 30,900. Whichever way you paint it this doesn’t look good. The only reason that unemployment rates have moved so little (seasonally adjusted up 0.3% and Trend unchanged) is the sharp decline in participation seen during the course of the year.