The Labour Force data for October released this morning by the ABS showed employment up 3,700 (s.a) or 20,000 (Trend) for the nation with the headline, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipping to 5.4% (the Trend remained stable at 5.5%). Participation fell slightly to 65.1 (from 65.2) and this will have helped with the Unemp Rate dip despite the slower monthly employment increase. Full time employment was up a healthy 24,300 (s.a.) and is now up 297,900 for the year; or 83.8% of all employment gains.
In Queensland the story was somewhat less clear. After the decline in employment last month (down 4,400) a rebound in Oct was expected, and duly delivered with an increase of 12,600 (s.a.) or 7,900 (Trend). However, a sharpish move up in Participation (to 65.8 from 65.5) saw the headline unemployment rate lift to 6.0% s.a. (from 5.9%). The Trend unemployment rate remained static at 5.9%. The move up in Participation, while helping to push the unemployment rate higher, should be viewed as a positive; particularly given that Participation now sits at its highest level since August 2014 (if we ignore a rather bizarre plot in Jan 2016 at 66.2 which saw the headline unemployment rate that month jump to 6,5% and promptly fall to 5.5% the next!).
Employment growth in QLD is now running at a Trend rate of 4.6% y/y (the fastest state) against a national average of 2.9%. Nevertheless, while it is true that employment increase in QLD over the past year account for fully 37% of the nation’s growth (seasonally adjusted), we should also note that the state only accounted for 21% of the growth in full-time employment. In QLD full-time employment makes up less than half of employment growth this year, against the national figure of almost 84%.
The bottom line is that there is ammunition here for both Government and Opposition campaigns in the final days as we run up to Nov 25th. Expect to see Government members talking up the Trend total data (see chart below) while the Opposition will no doubt focus on the relative weakness in full-time employment.