Today saw the release of the ABS Regional Labour Force data. As always, we focus on our own Conus Trend series to see through the highly volatile original, unadjusted ABS data; and what we see is more good news for the North.
In Cairns Trend employment has lifted by another 700 to 116,100 while the data for Dec was also revised stronger. Over the course of the past 12 months we have seen an extra 8,000 Trend jobs in Cairns. With the Trend Participation Rate moving higher again to a new 3 year high (61.7) we also see a slight upward revision to the Trend unemployment rate which now stands at 5.9% (unchanged from Dec); this is below the State at 6.1% and the Rest of Queensland which sits at 6.5%. Full time positions in Cairns are also on the way up; Trend full time jobs increased 1,000 in Jan and are up 4,100 over the past 12 months.
To our south in Townsville, with an increase of 600 in Trend employment, the Trend unemployment rate has fallen to 11.8% (after Dec was revised up to 12.1%). This remains the worst in the State. Over the course of the past year Townsville has lost 3,100 Trend jobs of which 2,100 have been full time (despite an increase of 600 in Jan). Trend participation has also risen here, although it remains historically low.
As the second chart below makes clear the labour market situation in Cairns has recovered extremely well over the past 8 months. Townsville still has a long way to go.
When we consider the youth sector in particular we again see evidence of improvement in Cairns. Youth Trend unemployment has fallen again to 14.3% (from highs of almost 35% 9 months ago) with an extra 4,000 Trend youth jobs over the course of the year. Cairns now sits in 7th place in the State for youth unemployment.
Townsville is not so lucky. The Trend youth unemployment rate now sits at 29.5% (down slightly from 29.8% in Jan which was revised up from 28.4%) and is second only to the Outback in the State. Over the course of the last 12 months Trend youth employment has fallen by 7,900 (although, always, we would recommend extreme caution when looking at data from these small sub-sets).
Despite the divergence between Greater Brisbane and the Rest of Queensland having eased somewhat over recent months, the disparity is still dramatic. Over the past year Greater Brisbane has lost 7,100 Trend jobs of which 6,700 have been full time. The Rest of Queensland, on the other hand, has lost 21,000 Trend jobs but a thumping 33,700 full time positions.
The full Conus Trend QLD Regional Jobs data set is available for download below. Please feel free to use this data (for non-commercial use) but we would appreciate you acknowledging Conus when you do so.