The Queensland economy continues to under-perform relative to the NSW and Victorian economies. In my post earlier this month, I noted that the Queensland economy remains lukewarm. Economic conditions are much stronger in NSW and Victoria than in Queensland, as confirmed by the job vacancies data released by the ABS last Thursday (see chart below*). Job vacancies haven’t surged in Queensland as they have in the southern states. So it’s unsurprising the unemployment rate in Queensland is 6.3% compared with 4.8% in NSW and 4.9% in Victoria. Based on the September quarter’s vacancy data, this gap will no doubt persist.
Nationwide, the Administrative and Support Services industry division has experienced a huge increase in vacancies (see chart below). This industry division covers a wide range of services, including office administration, cleaning, pest control, and employment services, among others. I suspect a significant part of the growth is due to the roll out of the NDIS in the last few years.
Queensland may be missing out on its fair share of job vacancies growth in administrative and support services (and also professional, scientific and technical services) due to our relative lack of national company headquarters.
I’d suggest the Queensland Treasury urgently investigates Queensland’s ongoing economic under-performance, delving into whether it’s due to inferior policy and regulatory settings relative to other states and territories. This could be a good job for a revived Office of Economic and Statistical Research (OESR). This arm of Treasury was doing excellent work researching the drivers of state economic growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But, in recent years, it has been operating under its original historical name, the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, and it now appears to lack sufficient resources and ministerial support to undertake in-depth economic research. The state government should consider reviving OESR, with a view to better understanding Queensland’s relative economic performance.
*NB The reference day is the third Friday of the middle month in each quarter.