Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gold Coast Glitters

Regional labour force data was this week and as usual Conus has posted analysis of the numbers: Not much joy in regional jobs data although Cairns Youth shows some positives
The Trend in Cairns shows us that jobs continue to be lost. For the fifth consecutive month Trend Employment has fallen; this month by 400. Over the course of the past 12 months Trend Employment in Cairns has risen by just 500 with most of the gains made in the first quarter of this year having been wiped out. The Trend Participation Rate has also been falling (now at 59.9) and this has been the main reason the Trend Unemployment Rate has actually moved slightly lower, despite weaker jobs growth.
A few months ago I posted on the regional employment split between SEQ and the rest: Queensland regions skew south east. That split remains and Gold Coast, by far the largest population region outside Greater Brisbane, remains a star performer. The Gold Coast participation rate has now risen to an historical high for the series on the Conus Trend and makes an interesting comparison with Queensland and Cairns.

Source: Conus Trend & ABS
Once upon a time Gold Coast had a reputation as a retirement destination which could have at least partly explained a participation rate below the Queensland average. Meanwhile the participation rate in Cairns has historically trended above the Queensland rate. The significant divergence there in recent years is presumably outside any volatility attributable to sample size and volatility in the regional data?


  1. Interesting stuff Mark. The small sample sizes inherent in the regional data mean that we have to always be very cautious with the data (even the Conus Trend), but having said that, the shift you highlight would certainly appear to be well established even if the absolute level (particularly in recent months) may well be subject to revisions in the future.

  2. It may be worthwhile to analyse some of the historical data in storage in detail. I'm sure that the status of Gold Coast as a holiday-retirement destination has had its own changes over the years.

  3. Mark, interesting points. I'll need to check the data but I'm wondering whether an influx of young people to the GC, particularly from overseas, perhaps initially to study, has boosted the participation rate?