Trend data shows another strong month for Cairns

The release of ABS regional labour force data for Feb allows us to update our own Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend series; and it shows us a very strong picture emerging in Cairns. Last month we saw some unbelievably low unemployment data in the original data-set from the ABS for Cairns and we warned against taking this at face value. This month things return to a more believable level but the effects of the very low Jan numbers are still reflected to an extent in the Trend data, so we must still take this with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless the story behind the Trend is clear…Cairns is seeing good employment growth and the unemployment rate has fallen sharply.

The Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend shows employment has lifted by 14,000 over the past 12 months (at a rate of 12.4% pa) with the unemployment rate falling to 3.8% (beware this headline grabbing number as it is likely to be revised in coming months as the impact of the Jan data diminishes) which is down 0.2% from an upwardly revised 4.0% in Jan.

Quarterly industry employment data also released today allows us to update our Trend series for Industry Employment (the ABS provide the data only as a four-quarter average). This shows us that employment growth has been seen across a broad range of industry sectors with Retail leading the way (+3,500). The quarterly industry data is not directly comparable with the monthly employment Trend but it nevertheless confirms solid employment growth in the region.

The recent floods in Townsville presented challenges for the ABS in the collection of data from the region and as a result they have warned against using any data for Townsville (and by extension the Rest of Queensland) for Feb. We hope that March will see normal service resume and we will be able to update the full Trend series at that time.

Employment growth is Greater Brisbane continues to lag the state average with just 8,700 added to Trend employment in the past 12 months at a rate of 0.7% (compared to +1.2% for the state…which suggests that the unseen Rest of Queensland data is a good deal stronger!). The Trend unemployment rate in Greater Brisbane is now at 5.9%, slightly higher than the Queensland figure of 5.7% (which suggests a Rest of Queensland Trend unemployment rate should sit around 5.5%).

The full Conus/CBC Staff Selection Regional Employment Trend data set for QLD is available for download below. Please feel free to use this data but kindly acknowledge Conus/CBC Staff Selection when you do so.

Conus/CBC Staff Selection Regional Employment Trend QLD – Feb 2019


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