Thursday, November 14, 2013

Headline hyperbole warning

There is a headline hyperbole warning current after the unemployment rate in FNQ did a sharp fall from 9.4% last month to 6.4% in October. Last time we had such a sharp move down a certain local politician made something of a goose of himself with exuberant commentary. He hasn't been heard from since or posted any comment when the ABS have released subsequent monthly numbers.

Caution, as always, is required in interpretation of this volatile series so this post has been wisely delayed to await and defer to the derived trend numbers from Conus Economics Blog: FNQ Unemployment rate falls on some volatile data; even the Trend paints a more +ve picture
The Conus Trend series shows us a picture which is much less bullish, but also one that is significantly improved from last month. Our Trend employment series sees some major revisions to previous months employment numbers so that despite a small decline this month (down 100 from 134.4 in Sept) the decline in Trend employment has improved from a fall of 7,000 since Jan last month to a 6,200 fall this. This is not a major revision, and the weakening trend remains clearly in place, but it is at least some sign that the slide may be slowing.
A sample size warning from ABS is also noted on the unemployment rate. This is typical of subsets in the data such as for male and female components but not usual for the widely reported total headline rate.

Among those subsets it is notable that the jump in estimated employment from the previous month was mostly a jump in the female component. That would be welcome if true but will need to be confirmed by trends in coming months.

Update: Conus has suggested that that the hyperbole warning be cancelled! Perhaps it should be downgraded to only 'slightly skewed' warning? Cairns Post on yesterday's FNQ jobs numbers

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