Regional Industry data

Last Thursday saw the ABS release their August monthly regional labour force data, and our own Conus Trend series (see here for details). They also released their quarterly data on regional employment by industry sector for the August quarter. This is presented on a quarterly basis as a rolling 4-quarter average, and as such should not be directly compared with our own Conus Trend monthly data.

The chart below show the make-up on regional industry employment for both Cairns and Townsville SA4 regions for the more significant industry sectors.

Total employment in Cairns fell in the August quarter to 106,700 (down 100 from May); which is quite close to our Conus Trend data of 106,800 employed (unchanged from May). The biggest falls in Cairns were;

  •  500 in Accommodation & Food (mostly full-time) and
  • 500 in Financial Services (both full and part-time).

The biggest gains were;

  • 1,200 in Retail (mainly full-time)
  • 800 in Professional Services (mainly full-time)
  • 600 in Health (all full-time)

In Townsville total employment fell in August to 99,600 (down 1,900 from May); the Conus Trend sits lower at 95,400 (down 1,100 since May). Biggest falls were;

  • 1,200 in Retail (almost all part-time)
  • 800 in Education (almost all full-time)
  • 700 in Administrative Services

Biggest Gains were;

  • 500 in Health (mostly part-time)
  • 500 in Accommodation & Food




  1. Mark Beath says:

    September 26th, 2016 at 4:53 am

    The odd thing about the Cairns data is the divergence between ‘retail’ and ‘accommodation and food’. Pete Wargent is usually reliable source so presume he has his graph right with an entirely opposite national trend between the two?

    It could be worthwhile to try and correlate this with the DoE employment ad data. However the problem there is that this series combines Cairns and an usurped Townsville into a Greater FNQ.

  2. Pete Faulkner says:

    September 26th, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Thanks Mark. The comparison on the Wargent chart is annual (the numbers I quote above are q/q). When comparing on an annual basis for Cairns Retail shows a 1,800 decline (and as much as 6,000 decline in the past 4 years). Accommodation & Food has also fallen over the years in Cairns (down 2,200 in the past year) although nothing like as much as Retail (just over 3,000 in the past 4 years).
    You’re quite right about the Dept of Employment monthly Vacancy data which is only for Far North Qld and as such would be impossible to correlate with the 4-quarter average quarterly ABS data for Cairns SA4. A combination of Cairns and Townsville SA4s would appear to be a close fit, although not exact. The other problem with the DOE data is that it classifies vacancies by job type rather than industry (although with some work it should be possible to make some educated guesses with regard to industry sector). Perhaps one day when I’ve got a heap of time on my hands…..
    Thanks for the comment.

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