The ABS regional labour force data is out today and the Far North stands out in recent weak data with a quite surprising fall in unemployment. The monthly unemployment rate fell from 8.2% to 6.5%. However, this was entirely due to a massive fall in female unemployment rate from 9.3% way down to 4.9%. In the space of a month this is almost certainly an anomaly and is again flagged with a sample size data warning from the ABS. The participation rate is relatively weak for FNQ but still in line with the rest of Qld.
Despite the monthly volatility, trend data does still remain positive. Last month we posted a comparative regional chart from Queensland Economy Watch and the relative trend there remains with the Gold Coast continuing to deteriorate. This latest stat is only the second time since the ABS series begain in 2007 that the Far North has posted a monthly unemployment below the Gold Coast, the other was July 2008. Far North unemployment has typically been above the Qld average and is now in the range relative to Qld and other regions typical back in 2008 before the unemployment spike.