Friday, August 16, 2013

FNQ employment spin and substance

Regional unemployment numbers were released by ABS yesterday which didn't really provide much change from recent trends but was reported in the Cairns Post:

Jobs on rise as tourism surges
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the workforce totalled 138,200, up 5100 on June and 6700 more than this time last year.
The seasonally adjusted and trend series from Conus remains the preferred analysis:

 FNQ Unemp; headline down, trend up and PR confusing everything
The rollercoaster ride for FNQ's jobs data continues but we believe that the Trend data paints a somewhat clearer picture of a gradual slowdown in jobs growth. The working age population in the region is growing at an annual rate around 2.25%. We will need to see trend employment growth beating that (excluding volatility in the Participation Rate) to get a consistent decline in the Trend unemployment rate.

To be fair to Nick Dalton he actually appears to have tried harder with this report and even makes reference to a trend unemployment rate and a somewhat confused attempt at this months participation rate effect in my view. However, he continues to report monthly movements as meaningful rather than statistical noise and most annoyingly continues to confuse the number unemployed with the dole!

There is also a problem with that YoY jobs growth in the Post. I had to check my spreadsheet and sums: July 2012=134,600; July 2013=138,200; 138,200-134,600=3,600? Somewhat less than the 6,700 reported in the Post? Oh? The 6,700 would be a comparison with the previous June, not July! Better luck next month Nick!

The Queensland Government Statistician has again released their regional update which uses a conservative 12 month moving average. I have updated a few graphs and the 'trend' line in these is also a simple 12 month moving average.

Note: With regards unemployment statistics last weeks post on the national data from Grogs Gamut is also recommended: how to put spin on a front page:
As I say, trust nothing you read (including my blog, I am not perfect, and certainly not unbiased), get a second opinion. Verify. But realise that one news organisation has bet all their bickies on a Tony Abbott win. That doesn’t mean we should assume everything they write is a lie – they don’t “lie” and I would never suggest they do. But as we have seen today, they can cherry pick data as good as any politicians can. I suggest you treat their statements with the same level of scepticism. And seek out the full picture.


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