Gavin King

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Tourism boom finally starts to lift Cairns jobs market

Analysis by local economist Pete Faulkner shows the trend unemployment rate in Cairns is the lowest in five years.


The tourism boom may finally be filtering down to the jobs market, with new data showing the trend unemployment rate in Cairns is at a five-year low.

Analysis by economist Pete Faulkner at Conus shows the trend unemployment rate in the Cairns SA4 region fell in October to a five year low of 7.3 percent; the fifth consecutive month of declines.

Mr Faulkner said October was a "universally positive one for the region".

"Virtually all employment indicators are now positive for the year," he said.

"There can now be little doubt that the long-awaited recovery in Cairns jobs, driven largely by the rebound in tourism, is upon us.

"Annual trend employment growth now stands at 3.4 percent in Cairns versus -1.3 percent for Queensland, -0.1 percent in Greater Brisbane and -2.5 percent in the rest of Queensland.

"Cairns is now in the position of having the fourth fastest growing trend employment amongst all of the Queensland SA4 regions and is the third fastest outside of Greater Brisbane."

To bolster the positive trend, Mr Faulkner said it was encouraging to see the Participation Rate increasing and youth unemployment finally coming down.

"Although trend participation has increased by only 0.2 percent over the course of the year this contrasts with the state as a whole where trend participation has fallen 1.9 percent over the same period," he said.

"In Cairns this suggests a return to work of previously disengaged workers.

"Even when we consider the trend employment data by age groups we see improvements. Trend unemployment in the youth cohort has been very high in Cairns for some time but it is now starting to decline; and is no longer the worst in the state.

"Although the level of youth unemployment is still high, the decline from the tops of almost 35 percent seen earlier this year is dramatic.

"Youth sector trend employment rose in October and is now down only 400 over the course of the year. It is in the middle aged cohort where the real changes have been seen with 7,700 more trend jobs than this time last year and an unemployment rate now below the total state average."