Regional jobs data looking good in the North

Last week we noted that increases in participation across Queensland saw the headline unemployment rate lift despite some solid employment growth (see here for details). Today’s regional data, when seen through the lens of the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend data, allows us to see how that played out across the State.

The 32,200 increase in employment was split almost equally between Greater Brisbane and the Rest of QLD. Over the course of the past 12 months job losses in Greater Brisbane (13,300) have been split almost 50:50 between full and part-time positions. However, the Rest of QLD, although losing only 6,300 jobs over the year, has seen full-time employment fall sharply (down 30,600) with part-time positions enjoying solid gains.

The Trend unemployment rate in Greater Brisbane now sits at 7.5% while in the Rest of QLD it is 7.8%.

When we look at the North of the State we see Townsville’s unemployment rate at just 6.5% with another solid increase to employment this month (+2,000) and up for the year (+3,100). All the employment increases have come in the part-time sector with older employees enjoying gains as the young and middle-aged suffered declines.

The labour market in Townsville had been recovering from a very low level prior to March, which helps explain why so many of these annual changes look so strong. Despite the data appearing rather flattered by the low base from which it has been coming, Townsville is suffering much less than some other regions which are more reliant on industry sectors such as Tourism. The quarterly data (to Aug) also suggests that a good deal of this strength is due to the Agricultural sector where employment has grown strongly.

In Cairns Trend employment also lifted (although again it’s all been part-time) and the unemployment rate edged higher to 7.0% as participation again increased strongly this month. However, when we consider employment we see that in the past 12 months full-time jobs have fallen sharply and been almost fully replaced by a similar increase in part-time work. The middle-aged are, naturally, the cohort most represented in full-time employment so we have seen most job losses in that age group (down 3,800); a fall in participation meaning the unemployment rate has moved only slightly higher. Employment increases in the youth and older cohorts have been focused in the part-time sector.

The complete Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend & s.a. data set for the QLD regions 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 & s.a. QLD – Sept 2020

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