Great jobs results for Cairns in July

The ABS release of regional labour market data has shown the Cairns region performed remarkably well in July despite the national and state weakness that we saw last week (see here for our comments at the time). The headline, unadjusted data might appear unbelievably good but when we see through that and look at the Conus Trend series an encouraging story unfolds.

The headline unemployment rate fell to 7.0% (from 8.2% in June) while the number employed was up 4,300 (after a 6,600 decline last month). The number unemployed fell by 1,200 to 8,500 while the Participation Rate jumped to 62.7 from 61.2. These wild swings are indeed too good (and too volatile) to take seriously.

The Conus Trend series shows us a more believable story, and continues the improving trend discussed last month (see here). Trend employment rose by 600 (slightly down from a 800 increase in June), unemployment was up 100 to 9,100 (while the June number was revised from 9,300 to 9,000) and the Participation Rate was stable at 62.1 (after June was revised up from 61.5). All this combines to see a Trend unemployment rate of 7.4%; this is down from 7.5% in June (itself revised down from 7.6%). The Conus Trend unemployment rate in Cairns has now fallen from 8.6% at the start of this year. This result means that Cairns now sits in 7th place in QLD regions for their unemployment rates behind Ipswich (9.9%), Moreton Bay – North (9.1%), Wide Bay (9.0%), Townsville (8.7%), Logan-Beaudesert (8.3%) and Sunshine Coast (7.8%).


UPDATE…Mark Beath over at Loose Change has taken a look at the Cairns Participation Rate relative to QLD’s

To our south things are nothing like as bright. In Townsville the Conus Trend unemployment rate stood at 8.7%; up from an upwardly revised 8.3% in June. On a brighter note Trend employment in Townsville has increased by 1,100 although this is a fall from the 1,300 seen in June. Townsville now sits in 4th place for QLD regions trend unemployment rates.

The full Excel spreadsheet for Conus Trend employment and unemployment rate data is available for download below. Please feel free to use this data (for non-commercial use) but kindly acknowledge Conus if you do so.

QLD Regions Jobs data – Conus Trend July 2014 data

The headline data for Cairns Youth  looks somewhat worse with the unemployment rate up to 20.2% (from 17.5% in June) and Participation down. However, the Trend data shows that the (slow) recovery remains in place even here. The Conus Trend unemployment rate for youth in Cairns fell to 15.8% (from an upwardly revised 16.3% in June). Even the Brotherhood of St Laurence preferred measure of a 12 month moving average shows improvement (as it did last month) and now stands at 20.0% (down from 21.8% in April this year). The more reliable Conus Trend data shows a decline in the unemployment rate for youth from 25.2% in July last year; a reduction of almost 10% over the year!



  1. Gene Tunny says:

    August 14th, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Townsville’s not looking good. Helps explain why they’re pushing so hard for that super stadium.

  2. Pete Faulkner says:

    August 14th, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Agreed. The turnaround in Townsville has been dramatic. Trend unemployment rate there is now up 2.5% in a year! I noted that you previously made mention of a TEL response to last months data…I wonder what they’ll say now that the weakness has been confirmed by another month of poor data. Even TEL’s preferred 12 mma is up, with a second month of headline above 10%

  3. Cornetto says:

    August 14th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    If you look at participation rate than Townsville higher participation may mean a lot of newly unemployed look for work. . When they give up trying the rate may come down like it has in Cairns. Cairns unemployment may look better but participation is way down from 3 years ago.

  4. Pete Faulkner says:

    August 14th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for your comment. You’re quite right that the Participation Rate in Townsville has risen sharply in the last 2 months and that this has impacted on the recorded unemployment rate. However, prior to these last 2 months the PR in Townsville has been trending lower (in much the same way that we have seen nationally…and in Cairns as you rightly point out). There are a number of reasons suggested for this general decline in PR with demographic changes certainly playing its part as baby boomers reach (early) retirement. Townsville PR , even with the last 2 months improvements, is still well below where it was just over a year ago. I will see if I can make some time today to do some Trend analysis of Townsville PR, as we have done for Cairns, and see what that tells us.

Leave a Response

  • © Conus Business Consultancy Services 2024

    Website created by RJ New Designs