Regions lead the employment gains in QLD

The original ABS regional labour force data for October out today allows us to update our Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend series and what this makes clear is that the recovery in employment seen in Queensland (see here for more details of last week’s State and National data) is being driven by regional gains. While employment across Queensland now sits 0.9% above the level of a year ago, in Greater Brisbane it is still 0.2% below while in the Rest of Queensland it is now up 1.8% with 22,800 more in employment than at the same time last year.

Before we get too excited about this outcome we should note that all the increase has come from part-time positions with full-time employment still down more than 25,000 across the State (and down 13,000 in the regions). Nevertheless, this is a clearly better outcome than has been witnessed across the nation where second-waves and lockdowns have negatively impacted on economies far more harshly than in Queensland.

As we noted earlier this week (see here) part of the reason that the Queensland headline unemployment rate of 7.7% appears so high relative to the nation despite this employment growth is to do with the uptick in participation (seen most notably in the regions) with the ‘effective unemployment rate’ in Queensland now estimated at 6.8% compared to 8.1% across the nation.


Greater Brisbane Trend unemployment rate now sits at 7.8% while in the Rest of Queensland it is 7.6%.

In our own region Cairns saw another 900 added to employment in October and annual employment growth has improved to -0.1% (or a loss of just 100 employed) for the year. The Trend unemployment rate sits at 6.4% (unchanged from a downwardly revised Sept) with participation having again moved higher.

Townsville is in the very unusual position of having most indicators better than they were a year ago. Trend employment has risen by another 900 this month and is up 1,800 from a year earlier (at a rate of +1.6%). Indeed in Townsville Trend employment is now only 1,000 below where it was in March, although participation remains quite low by historic standards. This lower participation means the headline unemployment rate is now noticeably low at just 6.4%. In Cairns there is still some way to go before we are back to the March levels of employment.

The Conus/CBC Staff Selection Trend & s.a. data-set for the Queensland 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 – Oct 2020

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