Payrolls data suggests there should be some improvement coming for Cairns

Today’s release from the ABS of the Payrolls data to the week ending 8th August suggests that we might expect some improvement in Cairns’ Conus/CBC Staff Selection series for August when released later next month. Payrolls data (sourced from the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll system) showed payrolls in the Cairns SA4 region are now down 4.7% from mid-March. This is a little better than the 4.9% national decline and rather worse than the 3.7% drop in Queensland. Over the past month Cairns has experienced a 0.6% increase while QLD is down 0.2% and the nation down 1.0% (largely driven by the 2.8% fall in VIC as the recent lock-down starts to take effect).

In the chart below we have taken a 4-week average of these original, unadjusted numbers to try and remove some of the underlying volatility and compared this with the Conus/CBC Staff Selection seasonally adjusted series each month. As we see the Conus/CBC Staff Selection series lags this weekly data (not unexpected), but it also suggests that the decline in employment we saw in the Cairns SA4 from the regional Labour Force data (and reflected in the Conus/CBC Staff Selection series) may have been a statistical glitch and we could expect to see a healthy recovery in the August data, which would almost certainly result in an upward revision of the July data. The August regional labour force data is due for release on Sept 24th.

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