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  • Crispin Till

    Email Crispin Till

    Latest data shows more people in work across TNQ's local government areas

    Is there a jobs boom in Cairns and TNQ?

    For the third time in as many weeks, TropicNow is reporting on a new set of data that suggests thousands of jobs have been created across the region in the past year.

    In the past couple of weeks the ABS and the latest Cairns Watch report have pointed to strong jobs growth and a rise in jobs advertised and now the latest figures from the Department of Employment show employment growth in Cairns and across TNQ.

    But economist Pete Faulkner from Conus Business Consultancy says his analysis of the latest Small Area Labour Market data needs to be viewed with some caution.

    Using the original data, Faulkner has created a Conus Trend series of unemployment rates and derived employment for all of Queensland's local government areas.

    "While the SALM data does not explicitly provide employment data it can be derived from the Labour Force and Unemployment data that is provided," he said.

    "Although we acknowledge that the different methodologies used for the estimation of unemployment and Labour Force data make such a derivation problematic we consider that the estimated Trend based on this derivation provides a useful, albeit limited, indicator for employment trends."


    Faulkner's analysis reveals the following trend employment increases in the Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Douglas, Mareeba and Yarrabah local government areas to June 2017:

    • Cairns Regional Council +5,298
    • Cassowary Coast Regional Council +884
    • Tablelands Regional Council +729
    • Douglas Shire Council +435
    • Mareeba Shire Council +459
    • Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council +110

    "Summing these we get an approximation for the Cairns SA4 region, for which we calculate the monthly Conus Trend Jobs series, of an increase of 7,915,” he said.

    “This compares to an increase to June 2017 in the Conus Trend for Cairns SA4 of 11,500.

    “We should note that these two series cannot be easily compared since one is based on monthly ABS Labour Force Survey data, while the SALM quarter estimates are created using data from Centrelink of people in receipt of Newstart and Youth Allowance by postcode, the ABS regional labour market data at SA4 level and the Census labour force data at SA2 level.

    “The quarterly Conus Trend LGA data will, by its nature, be lagging behind the movements seen in the Conus Trend Jobs series.

    "In addition, as noted above, the Trend LGA employment data needs to be treated with caution.

    "Nevertheless it is clear that both data sets demonstrate a clear and significant improvement in the story for the Tropical North.

    "Taken together the Conus Trend Jobs data for the SA4 regions and the new Conus Trend LGA data provide us with a more complete take on regional employment numbers and allows us to see more clearly where within the SA4 regions the employment changes might be taking place."

    The latest figures come hot on the heels of data from the ABS late last month that showed more than 10,500 full-time jobs had been created in Cairns in the past year.