The unemployment rate for the Far North ticked slightly higher in December to 8.4%. The good news is that estimate for employment surged higher to 145,200 which finally surpasses the previous high of October 2008. The higher unemployment rate was a result of an also robust participation rate now up at 71.6%.
That is now the highest participation rate in Queensland with the exception of inner city Brisbane. The employment and participation data are certainly counter to the weak Queensland trend for both over recent months. While browsing the 2011 Census data for the previous post it was noted that while Cairns would score poorly on unemployment rate it would actually have rated relatively highly among the cities on employment to population even at that time.
However, it must be remembered that beyond the typical monthly volatility ABS do not provide seasonally adjusted or trend etimates for regional data so we will have to wait for Conus Consulting to update their numbers on this. The weather has cetainly also been kinder through the latter half of 2012, at least until this week!
Comparisons of employment over the period with other Queensland regions may also be of interest for a subsequent post. Perhaps a reminder also that as Ricardian Ambivalence like to point out the labour force survey methodology is designed principally to measure the unemployment rate rather than employment.