Trend SALM data demonstrates Port Douglas-Daintree continuing to lead the way in the Far North

The Dept of Employment released their Small Area Labour Market data for the June quarter at the end of last week. The headline data is presented as a smoothed 4 quarters average at both Local Govt Area and SA2 level. However, hidden in the release is the original, unsmoothed, data and from that we create the Conus Trend series for all the QLD LGAs as well as the SA2 and SA3 areas within the broader Cairns region.

The SALM estimates use data from ABS Labour Force, estimated regional population estimates and Census along with Dept of Social Services Centrelink data in an effort to “produce small area labour market estimates that reflect the regional disparities of the Centrelink data, while being consistent with the ABS Labour Force Survey estimates.”

Most councils in the Far North saw decreases in Trend unemployment rates and these came on the back of mostly downward revisions in previous quarters (which is not surprising given the strength we saw in the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend data in Cairns SA4 during that period; a strength that has eased since). The Conus Trend SALM unemployment rates for our various LGAs in the Far North are;

  • Cairns Regional Council – 4.2% (previous quarter revised from 5.1% to 4.3%)
  • Douglas Shire Council – 3.7% (previous quarter revised from 3.7% to 4.0%)
  • Cassowary Coast Regional Council – 5.4% (previous quarter from 6.0% to 5.4%)
  • Tablelands Regional Council – 5.1% (previous quarter revised from 5.7% to 5.1%)
  • Mareeba Shire Council – 7.6% (previous quarter revised from 8.0% to 7.7%)

To our south Townsville City Council now sits at 7.4%, which was a slight increase from 7.3% in the previous quarter. The varying fortunes of Cairns Regional Council and Townsville City Council over the past 6 years are clear….

Digging a little deeper into the Cairns region by considering the SA3 regions we see that Conus Trend unemployment rates are;

  • Cairns North – 2.2%
  • Cairns South – 5.8% (Manoora and Manunda at 11.8% and 10.4% respectively)
  • Innisfail Cassowary Coast – 7.2% (this includes Yarrabah at 51.9%, Innisfail at 8.8% and Tully at 4.1%)
  • Port Douglas Daintree – 3.5%
  • Tablelands Kuranda East – 5.7%

The SA3 data suggests that Port Douglas-Daintree has been the star performer in the region this year. The Conus Trend SALM in the region has fallen from 4.9% in June 2018 to just 3.5% now. Cairns-North has fallen from 2.8% to 2.2% in the same period.

As the chart below makes clear, the original data is suggesting that rates may be moving a little higher and that we might expect the Trend data to follow suit in coming quarters; a move we have already seen in the more timely Conus/CBC Staff Selection monthly Trend data for the Cairns SA4 region.


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