As usual, we create the Conus Trend regional jobs data from the original ABS monthly data for Dec before making any real analysis. The results for the year to Dec 2017 across the state are detailed below. We see that Trend employment growth in QLD beat the nation by a healthy margin (4.6% v 3.3%) and that nation-beating employment growth was seen across the whole state with Greater Brisbane leading the way (5.0%) while the Rest of Queensland performed slightly slower (4.2%). The Trend unemployment rate in the Greater Brisbane area remains well below that in the regions (5.4% v 6.4%) for a state average of 5.9%.
Employment growth hot-spots included Brisbane East and South, Logan-Beaudesert, Moreton Bay North, Gold and Sunshine Coasts and Townsville (where growth was coming off a very low base and Trend unemployment remains high at 9.6%.
|Trend Employment||Trend UR|
|2017 change||% y/y||%|
|Brisbane – East||+10.3||+9.0||4.1|
|Brisbane – North||+5.7||+4.9||3.5|
|Brisbane – South||+15.6||+8.1||4.8|
|Brisbane – West||-3.2||-3.4||6.3|
|Brisbane Inner City||+3.2||+2.0||3.5|
|Logan – Beaudesert||+12.5||+8.6||6.4|
|Moreton Bay – North||+9.4||+8.8||7.0|
|Moreton Bay – South||+1.8||+1.7||4.3|
|Darling Downs – Maranoa||+1.8||+3.0||3.9|
|Queensland – Outback||-0.6||-1.8||12.4|
Looking more closely at our own region we see Trend employment growth in Cairns has slowed dramatically (up just 1.9% for the year) with another 200 jobs lost this month. However, the big story for Cairns has been the growth in full-time employment (up 7,600 for the year, or 10.1% y/y growth) while part-time work has fallen (down 5,300 in 2017, a contraction of 13.5%); a sure sign of a recovering labour market in the region despite the headline numbers looking rather weak. The Trend unemployment rate remains in line with the state average at 5.9%.
To our south the recovery in Townsville continues, albeit at a slower pace than previously estimated. Trend employment growth of 9.6% is impressive but a majority of the 11,100 new jobs in the region this year have come in the part-time sector (+5,900, 20.8% growth) with full-time a rather less impressive +4,800 (or 7.0%). In the early stages of a labour market recovery, such as we would suggest we are seeing in Townsville, it is perhaps not surprising to see employers focused more on part-time, than full-time, positions. Hopefully as we move through 2018 and the recovery becomes entrenched we can see a similar pattern emerging to that we have witnessed in Cairns with part-time jobs giving way to more full-time positions. The Trend unemployment rate in Townsville remains among the highest in the state at 9.6% (up from 9.2% in Nov). A major contributor to this tick-up in the unemployment rate has been a solid increase in Trend participation (up 5.2 ppts in the year) which, again, suggests a stronger market than the headline data might suggest.
The second chart below, which “sees through” this Participation effect (see here for more details), demonstrates the point and highlights the recovery in labour market that both Cairns and Townsville have seen since mid-2016.
Data on the median length of job search continues to show a disturbing trend of increases in Queensland with the median Conus Trend increasing in December to 25 weeks while the average across the nation sits at 17 weeks. Across the state search durations vary widely (although the Trends are 25 weeks in both Greater Brisbane and the Rest of Queensland) with Cairns sitting at 29 weeks, Townsville at 34 weeks although Darling Downs-Maranoa is the lowest in the state at just 5 weeks (not surprising given the Trend unemployment rate in the region is just 3.9%).
The full Conus Trend Regional Jobs data set is available for download below. Please feel free to make use of this data (for non-commercial uses) but we would appreciate you acknowledging Conus when you do so.