Payrolls data from the ABS (sourced weekly from the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll system) shows that payrolls across the nation were down 5.7% by the 27th June from their levels in mid-March. Across Queensland the decline was slightly better at 5.2%.
Data at the regional level at this stage is only available up to the end of May (estimates will be updated by the ABS through to the week ending 11 July as part of their release on 28 July), but it shows Cairns doing significantly worse than the nation and State. Whereas Australia and Queensland hit a low in mid-April down 8.7% the equivalent low for Cairns was a decline of 10.6%. Since then that 2% gap has remained quite consistent, so we could expect that the decline in Cairns as at the end of June might have been in the region of 7.5%.
The ABS will release their original June regional Labour Force data next week at which time we will be updating the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Regional Employment Trend series. At this stage our Trend suggests employment in Cairns had fallen by 6.4% from March to May so we are expecting to see further declines (and downward revisions to back-months).
We should caution that, although this graph suggests that national and Queensland payrolls are already back to levels above those seen in early January, the data is not seasonally adjusted and therefore the ramp up in payrolls seen after the start of the New Year is likely simply a seasonal post-holiday factor.