Queensland labour market potentially at turning point
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has warned that Queensland’s recently improving labour market may be coming to an end.
Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics labour market figures indicate an increase in Queensland’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate from 5.6 per cent in February to 6.1 per cent in March, with an additional 13,000 persons registered as unemployed during the month.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said Queensland was the only state to record an increase in the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate. Queensland’s unemployment of 6.1 per cent compares to the national average of 5.7 per cent.
“In trend terms, the state’s unemployment rate appears to have stalled at 6 per cent with four consecutive months at this level,” he said.
“Both the trend and seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate measures are about half a per cent lower than a year ago. However, CCIQ cautions that a rising seasonally-adjusted measure coupled with unchanged trend rate for repeated months is potentially indicative of a turning point.
Mr Behrens said in trend terms there was virtually no change in total employment (down 500). In seasonally-adjusted terms there were 15,400 fewer employed persons in Queensland.
“This is undoubtedly a reflection of job-shedding in the mining and construction sectors,” he said.
“CCIQ is not surprised with today’s labour market data. CCIQ treats both the unemployment rate and employment as lag measures.
“Repeatedly, ABS data measuring Queensland’s domestic economy has indicated widespread difficulty. Queensland’s domestic economy in the year to the December quarter 2015 contracted by 1.7 per cent compared to national growth of 1.1 per cent.
“CCIQ takes no pleasure highlighting poor economic performance but we do believe it is time to take off the rose-tinted glasses. Before we can fix the problem we have to recognise that one exists.”