You have probably seen the media coverage of the strong jobs growth over 2017 for Australia. Queensland played a large part in this, with the highest employment growth rate among states and territories (4.6 percent through-the-year) and an increase in employed persons of 108,800. The monthly data for December, though, were a bit disappointing for Queensland, as covered by Pete Faulkner (Strong jobs numbers (again) but QLD disappoints (again)):
Unfortunately, despite a nation leading employment growth rate of 4.6% y/y, the picture in Queensland is less rosy. Employment rose just 3,600 in December which is the weakest growth since Nov 2016 and the Trend unemployment rate remains at 5.9% (after Nov was revised up from 5.8%).
The volatile seasonally-adjusted Queensland unemployment rate increased from 5.9 percent to 6.0 percent in December. Of course, as I’ve noted many times previously, we shouldn’t get too concerned or excited about month-to-month changes and we should consider movements in the data over longer periods.
Generally, I think recent labour market data are encouraging for Queensland, and I am especially encouraged by the surge in employment among young people aged 15 to 24 over 2017 (see chart below). With 431,000 young people employed in Queensland in December 2017, the level of employment was 42,500 people higher than in December 2016, with the increase split almost equally between full-time and part-time positions. I expect many of these additional jobs are in tourism and hospitality, and also in junior positions in health and aged care.
The strong employment growth over 2017 for young Queenslanders has resulted in a decline in the youth unemployment rate (see chart below).
This is welcome news, as it has been difficult for young people to find employment, particularly full-time, in Queensland in recent years. I remain hopeful that the momentum in Queensland’s economy will continue through 2018, as discussed in my previous post:
Also, see Queensland Treasury’s handy Labour Force brief summarising all the latest data. And note that, while Queensland had the highest employment growth rate, NSW created the most jobs in absolute terms, as noted by Pete Wargent: NSW jobs growth on steroids.