As an economist, I’m naturally a big believer in the importance of economic factors in society. And I thought one (though not the only) reason for the big swing against the Newman Government was Queensland’s lacklustre economy, which was largely outside the control of the Government, of course. The ABS labour force data released today confirm Queensland’s labour market remains sluggish and also provides a full set of data with which to assess jobs growth over the term of the (likely) outgoing Queensland Government (shown in the chart below).
As I’ve noted before, employment growth was unimpressive and only in part-time jobs (see my post Qld Govt benefits from volatile jobs data – still vulnerable over bulk of jobs growth being part-time over first term). Job creation was only running at around 1,400 per month, which was nowhere near enough to keep up with labour force growth (see How many new jobs needed to be created over the Qld Government’s first term?). As a result, the unemployment rate increased from 5.5% in March 2012 to 6.5% in January 2015.
The Newman Government found it difficult to sell its economic message because the economy was so unimpressive to many Queenslanders. This fact, along with misplaced fears about leasing out assets, contributed to the incredible swing at the 2015 election.
For more on today’s labour force figures, see Pete Faulkner’s excellent post Jobs data headlines look poor, but the true story is rather different, in which Pete attempts to look through the noise in the seasonally adjusted data to figure out what is really going on.