Labour Force data OK for Australia…horrible for QLD

The Labour Force data for April shows seasonally adjusted employment increased by 22,600, which was somewhat better than market expectations. However, revisions to previous months saw the smallish gain in March revised to a small drop. As a result the overall picture was broadly in line with the market. Trend data showed continued growth (+13,800) although this has been slowing sharply and this is the smallest increase since November 2016. Trend employment growth has slowed to 2.9% (+355,200), which is its slowest pace for 7 months. Full time employment reversed a large dip last month and was up 32,700 (seasonally adjusted).

With a small tick up in participation the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged slightly higher to 5.6% (although the Trend rate remains stuck at 5.5%). Better news comes in the shape of improving hours worked data which saw Trend hours worked per head of working population move up to 86.8 hours (the highest level since Dec 2012).

Unfortunately the story for QLD is far less rosy. Seasonally adjusted data showed employment fell 8,200 (the third consecutive month of declines after some downward revisions to back months) and the unemployment rate lifted to 6.5% (its highest rate since Feb 2017). Trend data, while not as weak, also showed a slowed down. Trend employment rose just 900 in April and the pace of employment growth has slowed to 3.5%. Although this remains better than the Australian average it is a very sharp decline since the 4.9% pace seen at the end of last year. Total hours worked per head of working population also fell again.

The regional labour market data will be released next Thursday at which point we’ll be updating and releasing the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Employment Trend for regional QLD.



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