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  • Centrelink lines getting shorter with fewer locals claiming welfare benefits


    Fewer people are claiming Centrelink benefits in the Cairns region due to the steady improvement in the local economy.

    Analysis of payments data for Newstart, Youth Allowance and other benefits shows hundreds of people have left the welfare cycle in the area from Port Douglas to Innisfail since late 2015.

    On a trend basis calculated by Conus economist Pete Faulkner, the latest job seeker statistics show the number of people on benefits dropped from around 10,400 in late 2015 to around 9550 people in October 2017.

    Mr Faulkner told TropicNow his analysis of Department of Social Services job seeker figures painted a similar picture of positivity as separate data sets released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Employment.

    EMPLOYMENT IMPROVEMENT

    While he stressed the raw data was volatile, the trend analysis now made it clear the employment situation in the Cairns region had undergone "significant improvement" over the past 18 months or so.

    "The decrease in the number of payment recipients fits in with the general commentary about the improvement in the local economy over recent times," Mr Faulkner said.

    "The unemployment rate is measured differently from the way job seekers receiving benefits are calculated so you can't compare them directly, but with the Conus Trend analysis we can clearly see the data is all pointing in the same direction.

    "The unemployment rate has been falling for 18 months or so, the job seeker rate has also been falling since about September 2015 and other data shows the number of people employed has grown over that time.

    "So all of the data is saying the employment scene has improved over the last 18 months on a trend basis."