Jobs data: but what does it mean?

DSS have released data for Jobseeker and Youth Allowance recipients following the transfer from Newstart to Jobseeker in March. This provides data for March and April presented as a percentage increase by State:

DSS April 4

There are too many complexities with JobKeeper, JobSeeker, etc currently to really make sense of employment data. However, It could come as a surprise that Queensland comes out modestly on this measure. There is also SA2 level data where the highest percentage growth rates in the Cairns SA4 region are also dominated by areas with low unemployment rates to start with:

DSS April 2

Port Douglas topped the Queensland SA2 list with a massive 246% increase in JobSeekers ahead of Airlie Beach. Yarrabah was close to the other end. The bottom Queensland five were all indigenous communities. It’s interesting but maybe not really the best way to look at it.

While I don’t have much respect for the Small Areas Labour Market (SALM) methodology it’s easy just to strip out a ratio to the SALM Labour Force for SA2 smoothed to December 2019 quarter:

DSS April 3

This is very different for some SA2 areas. Redlynch and Brinsmead, affluent urban areas with a low base to start with and go from one end to the other of the scale. Cairns SA4 increased by 5.5% on this measure relative to a Queensland increase of 4.0%. There are many complexities. Particularly those not eligible for either JobKeeper or JobSeeker.

George Megalogenis; Guardian Australia

Jobseeker and Youth Payments Monthly profile

Note: Clearly the biggest impact is in the Douglas SA3/Shire which is Daintree and Port Douglas. Daintree included Mossman as the main population centre and maintains a higher number of Jobseekers.

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