My friend and former Treasury colleague Joe Branigan has found some good news for Queensland in today’s new labour force data. Earlier today, Joe tweeted an interesting chart (see below), showing Queensland has led Australia in the growth of hours worked (in trend terms) since March 2012, when the new Queensland Government was elected. You can check out Joe’s twitter feed at https://twitter.com/JoeBranigan71.
It’s good Joe is being optimistic, because today’s labour force data for Queensland weren’t really that great at first glance, with the unemployment rate increasing from 6.1% to 6.2% (seasonally adjusted). However, employment growth was strong, and unemployment increased because of rising labour force participation. It could be the economy is recovering, as other data such as those on building approvals and retail trade suggest, and the slight increase in the unemployment rate simply reflects more people entering the labour market and looking for work, because conditions appear to be better. As such, I’m somewhat less worried about Queensland’s rising unemployment rate than I was last month.