QLD and Cairns jobs data show real improvements

We have today returned from a trip up to Cape York and have now had time to look at the employment data for May released during our absence.
The data for QLD showed a decline in the headline unemployment rate to 6.2% (from 6.3%) with a very encouraging increase of 18,200 full-time positions (82% of all full-time positions created in the nation for the month). The only disappointments in the data were yet another decline in the Participation Rate (down to 66.3 from 66.5) and an increase in the ABS Trend unemployment rate to 6.3% (from 6.2%).
When we look at the data for Cairns there is nothing but good news which builds on the improvements seen in last months data (see our commentary here). The raw, unadjusted ABS data is of little use but when we consider the Conus Trend series the story is a good one. Trend employment increased by 1.200 with previous months also revised higher; this is the 3rd consecutive monthly increase. Trend unemployment fell by 300 (with previous months also revised sharply lower). The Trend unemployment rate fell to 7.1% (from a downwardly revised 7.5% in April) which was made all the more impressive by the fact that Trend Participation rose to 61.9% (from an upwardly revised 61.7% last month).

140622Cairns also saw some major improvements in the youth unemployment data (which again builds on improvements last month..see here). As we have noted many times previously, this data set is so volatile as to be almost meaningless. However, our own Conus Trend unemployment series shows a decline to 14.1% (from a very sharply downwardly revised 16.7% in April). Trend unemployment in the 15-24 yr bracket has now fallen from a high of 26.9% in July 2013. The Brotherhood of St Laurence measure of a simple 12 month moving average remains high at 21.7%, but even that is a decline from last month. Just to give some idea of how wildly volatile this data set is, and therefore why we are extremely cautious about reading too much into it, consider that the headline unemployment rate in July 2013 was 30.5%; in May this year it has fallen to 8.3%!
To our south things in Townsville were not quite as rosy, although here too the Trend unemployment rate fell (to 6.5% from 6.7%). However, in their case, the previous months’ unemployment rates were revised up somewhat. Mark Beath over at Loose Change has also posted on the Cairns jobs data and the impact of female jobs growth in particular.


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