Queensland’s economic story over the last few years has been dominated by the end of the mining boom, which has had particularly adverse impacts in some Queensland regions, such as in the Fitzroy, Mackay and Townsville regions. The end of the mining boom is no doubt largely responsible for Queensland’s level of full-time employment still being lower than it was five years ago, as shown in the chart below.
The new labour force data reported by the ABS last Thursday showed a rebound in full-time employed persons of 33,100 in seasonally-adjusted terms in March for Queensland, which hopefully is the start of a sustained upswing (see Queensland Treasury’s latest labour force briefing note for more figures).
The Palaszczuk Government will definitely be hoping for a sustained upswing in full-time employment. Although the Government looks likely to be able to claim a greater increase in employment on its watch that the previous LNP Government could (see my post from yesterday), currently it is only part-time jobs (using the ABS trend data) that have increased over its term, while full-time employment has fallen (see charts below). The Newman Government also saw a decline in full-time employment over its term, but the Palaszczuk Government still has enough time to see positive full-time employment growth recorded. Indeed, using the more volatile seasonally-adjusted numbers, the Palaszczuk Government has recorded an additional 10,400 full-time jobs.
A decline in full-time employment in recent years has occurred in Western Australia as well (see chart below), supporting the notion that it is a phenomenon associated with the re-balancing of the economy at the end of the mining boom. Indeed, many of the full-time jobs in the mining sector may have been held by people who migrated from other States and Territories, and have subsequently returned to their original State or Territory.
Certainly Queensland experienced very high rates of full-time employment growth in the first phase of the mining boom in the 2000s, and what we have seen in the last few years may be considered the inevitable re-balancing (see chart below).
Another important qualification to my post yesterday is that, were it not for the strong growth in Queensland public service employment (see chart below), full-time employment would have declined much further since January 2015 (Hat tip to regular reader Russell Rogers for reminding me of the big increase in public sector jobs). The Palaszczuk Government will be hoping for strong growth in private sector, full-time employment over the rest of 2017, so it isn’t vulnerable to the claim that all the new jobs in Queensland are either part-time or in the public sector.