Labour Account June 2020 shows impact of income support, and Cairns doing better than most

While we’ve been away the ABS have released the June 2020 quarter Labour Account data series which provides a wealth of information. One thing it allows us to do is take a  look at incomes across various industry sectors and how they have changed in the past 12 months. The data provides us, for each industry type, the year-on-year changes in the average hourly income per employed person, the average number of hours actually worked per employed person, and the resultant average income per employed person.

There are marked differences between sectors with some seeing massive hourly rate increases (on the back of COVID-19 income support payments) driving very extremely healthy income rises (e.g. Arts & Recreation); some seeing such large declines in hours worked that, even when combined with large hourly rate increases, average incomes have fallen (e.g. Accommodation & Food Services); most have seen the income support payments more than offset the drop in hours worked and a resultant increase in average incomes. Across all industries average hourly income rose by 12.5% but the average number of hours fell 5.0% resulting in an increase in average income of 6.9% (its fastest pace since June 2011).

Obviously as these support payments (JobKeeper and JobSeeker) start to be wound back as we move into the final quarter of the year we can expect to see these large income increases moderate.

 

Those sectors that contributed the most to the rise in average incomes were;

  • Retail (added 1.16 ppts): hourly rates +17.8%, hours worked -6.2% = incomes +10.5%
  • Education (added 0.97 ppts): hourly rates +12.7%, hours worked -1.4% = incomes +11.1%
  • Professional Services (added 0.59 ppts): hourly rates +10.1%, hours worked -4.3% = incomes +5.4%

At the other end of the spectrum;

  • Financial & Insurance Services (deducted 0.11 ppts): hourly rates -1.4%, hours worked -1.1% = incomes -2.4%
  • Accommodation & Food Services (deducted 0.05 ppts): hourly rates +42.1%, hours worked -30.0% = incomes -0.5%

The reduction in hours worked during the quarter was, not surprisingly, dramatic in many sectors; not least the Accommodation & Food Services industry which saw a 30% decline.

 

By combining the Labour Account data with our own Conus Regional Industry Employment Trend data we can estimate the average income changes across QLD’s regions. These estimates assume that industry sector changes are equal across the nation; differences in regions are therefore driven by the varying industry sector make-up of their employment environment.

While nationwide average incomes were up 6.9%, in QLD the rise was a little more at 7.2%. Greater Brisbane saw better growth at 7.3% while the Rest of QLD was slightly weaker at 7.1%. In our own area Cairns performed relatively well (+7.5%) largely on the back of over-representation in the Education sector which saw very healthy income growth; while Townsville matched the State growth at 7.2%.

Performance among the regions varied widely with Mackay notching up income growth of 8.0% (Mining enjoyed 9.2% income growth and contributed 1.64 ppts in Mackay but only 0.15 ppts nationally) while Wide Bay could manage only 5.8% (under-representation in some high performing sectors and over-representation in sectors which did worse).

 

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