The May Labour Force data released by the ABS yesterday confirmed Queensland has outperformed the rest of Australia over the last couple of years. My view is that this is due to a range of factors including a surge in net interstate migration, a roaring mining sector in this time of high commodity prices, and rebounding tourism spending. Compared with their levels in March 2020, employment is around 8% higher in Queensland than pre-COVID while it’s around 4% higher nationwide (see the chart below).
Of the additional 206k people employed in Queensland since March 2020, 194k are in full-time employment. As Queensland Treasury’s latest labour force briefing shows, Queensland led the nation in terms of the number of new employed persons (124k out of a total 386k nationwide), with Queensland employment growing at 4.7% through-the-year compared with 2.9% nationwide. WA had the highest growth rate (5.6%). No doubt many new jobs were in the public service or in government-supported health and social services – make of that what you will – so I’ll aim to have a closer look at where employment growth is occurring in a future post.
The May data showed a big uptick in employment in Queensland in May but as always I’m cautious about reading too much into month-to-month movements due to the possibility of sampling error or statistical noise so to speak. After the aberrant April numbers, a correction of some kind was likely to occur, so Queensland’s unemployment rate of 4% is now back to being just above the national average of 3.9% (see chart below). Of course, as I explained in yesterday’s post, we now have to wait and see how consumers and the economy overall respond to the interest rate hikes from the RBA. Early signs are not encouraging, alas.
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