Trend employment growth in Cairns slows again as the regions struggle to keep up with Greater Brisbane

The release by the ABS of their Dec original regional labour force data allows us to update the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Regional Employment Trend data for Queensland. It shows us the Rest of QLD struggling to keep pace with Greater Brisbane; Trend employment growth in the Greater Brisbane area now sits at 2.9% pa while the Rest of QLD lanquishes well behind at just 1.7% pa. Trend employment growth across the nation stands at 2.1% while in QLD (driven by the better performance in Brisbane) is at 2.3%.

The Trend unemployment rate in QLD in Dec fell to 6.0% while it now sits at 5.8% in Greater Brisbane and 6.4% in the Rest of QLD. During the year to Dec the Trend unemployment rate in Greater Brisbane fell by 0.6 ppts while it went up 0.5 ppts in the Rest of QLD.

Looking more closely at our own region we see Cairns Trend employment growth remains robust (+6.2% pa) although this is well down from its peak earlier in the year. This month Trend employment has fallen by 500 while the Trend unemployment rate remains stable at (an upwardly revised) 6.2%. The good news for Cairns remains that the solid employment growth is all coming in the full-time sector where 10,200 new positions have been added over the year. While Trend Participation has fallen slightly this month, it remains significantly higher than last year and this has restricted any falls in the Trend unemployment rate as more people enter the workforce on the back of a generally healthier outlook.

In Townsville Trend employment increased by another 500 this month (and brings annual Trend employment growth to a very healthy 5.8% pa). Here too, all the gains have been in the full-time sector (+7,500 over the year). While the Trend unemployment rate has fallen again this month, at 8.9% it remains elevated (third highest in the State) largely due to a high youth unenemployment rate which sits at 22.7%.

The chart above looking at employment as a proportion of the working population confirms the overall strong picture in Cairns, which is matching Greater Brisbane, and the improving, but still relatively quite weak, one in Townsville which sits just below the Rest of QLD.

The full Conus/CBC Staff Selection Regional Employment Trend data 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 – Dec 2019

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