Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tourism & employment (preliminary)

A report in the Courier Mail today: Queensland tourism boost driving jobs growth
QUEENSLAND’S tourism has returned to good times with major centres creating thousands of jobs while investment spiked by almost $5 billion nationally last year.
And it appears casinos are what will drive the industry into the future with the Tourism and Transport Federation (TTF) report yesterday showing that mixed-use facilities are where investors are pouring their money.
On the back of record visitor numbers last year – mostly from China – the Gold Coast, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast reported major reductions in unemployment, but experts say the jobs are spinning off into areas not traditionally seen as tourism related.              
The small-area labour market figures, which break down unemployment into suburban areas, found that there had been a 12 per cent fall in the Maroochy jobless figures for the year to December. Noosa had a similar fall while Caloundra fell 6 per cent and the Cairns jobless numbers fell 16 per cent for the year, although youth unemployment remains high in the far north.
I couldn't find anything posted at the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) and suspect the report referenced is actually the Tourism Investment Monitor 2014 from Tourism Research Australia. However there is minimal relevant discussion there on employment. The numbers quoted at the CM are Small Area Labour Markets (SALM) from the Department of Employment.

As we know from regular discussion of the deficiencies in our regional labour force data a decline in the number of unemployed does not necessarily translate into increased employment given factors such as participation. While the SALM data is based on the ABS labour force stats it comes with some quirks, with inputs also from census and centrelink data, and a specific warning not to infer employment from the methodology.

Looking through all the data available and whether or not any decline in the number unemployed may have translated into increased employment the result would probably be: Sunshine Coast yes; Gold Coast maybe; Cairns no.

There are many other aspects worth a look here and like our regional labour force geographical reporting changes are also subject to change with the next SALM report based on the SA2/3/4 boundaries. Links: ASGS Boundaries Online

Also note that the SALM methodology is still based on 2006 census and presumably this will be updated with the next quarterly numbers along with the geographical update.

There was indeed a 16% decline in the number of unemployed in Cairns based on the SALM methodology if one wants to look at it that way rather than as a proportion of the labour force and subject to the above qualifications.

However on a regional basis comparable with the SA4 format from ABS that decline in Cairns itself was actually lower than surrounding regions. Yarrabah topped the score with a 44.8% decline in the number unemployed.

I think I will await a geographically updated and census revised version of the small area labour force data.

Update: Thanks to Conus for the link and comments more succinct than I could manage:

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