Big improvement in Cairns jobs data

The release of ABS regional jobs data this morning has (finally) seen a marked improvement in the picture in Cairns. After very weak data last month (see here for details), it is certainly encouraging to see the data looking a lot better. The recent deterioration in the data for Cairns has been surprising given other data (and anecdotal evidence) which has been demonstrating recovery in the tourism sector; finally we see signs that good news is making some inroads into the regions jobs sector.
The headline (unadjusted and therefore almost useless) unemployment rate for April has fallen to 7.2% (from 10.1%). There were 2,600 extra jobs recorded and 3,300 fewer unemployed. The Participation Rate has fallen sharply to just 59.8, which is its lowest on record. Looking at the far more useful Conus Trend data we see an extra 300 people in work (the second consecutive monthly increase), although this means that Trend employment remains 9.0% below where it stood a year ago. The Conus Trend unemployment rate now stands at 8.1% (down from 8.3% in March, which was in turn revised down from 8.9%). The Trend Participation Rate fell to 60.7 (also a new record low).
These are encouraging numbers for Cairns, although the fall in the Participation Rate is of some concern (and has certainly played a part in making the fall in the rate of unemployment so dramatic). If the PR recovers (which we would expect) then it may be difficult for the region to create enough jobs to keep the unemployment rate from rising once again.
To our south Townsville saw only slight changes, The headline unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.6% (from 8.4%), although the Conus Trend remained stable at 7.0%.

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