The regional employment data from the ABS has returned to volatile form for August with the headline unemployment rate back up to 10.3%. However, this was entirely driven by the participation rate which also jumped 66.8% to 70.3%. The biggest contribution came from male unemployment which spiked up to 12.2% which is the highest since the early months of 2011.
The estimates for number of people employed was actually positive and increased by 4,400 to the highest level since June last year. It is to be hoped increased participation and employment finally reflects anecdotal observations of stronger tourism in recent months, with a strong recovery in female employment noted. However it would be wise to be circumspect given this volatility, and unreliability of monthly regional data.
Update: Conus Consulting analysis is also sceptical of the monthly numbers. As usual the ABS data also includes a sample warning on female data for Far North. Reporting in the Cairns Post may be interesting.