Use and Abuse of Postcode Data

News Ltd publications around the nation recently reported JobKeeper data by postcode exclusively sourced from the Australian Treasury. This is mostly paywalled but there are some reports outside such as at Yahoo: Postcodes most at risk when JobKeeper ends

Jobkeeper Postcodes

It is no surprise that locations such as Cairns and Gold Coast are on the list but postcode data used in this way can be misleading and some of the reporting by alleged professional journalists has been woeful including confusion of businesses with employee numbers on JobKeeper and non-sensical comparisons that numbers in Cairns are higher than Gold Coast. Some regional locations among the most affected on JobSeeker numbers don’t appear at all among top JobKeeper business postcodes.

Previous post on the use and abuse of postcode data in this way: Postcode Mostcode. At different times in the past the Cairns Post has used basic number comparisons for postcode 4870 to claim Cairns is best/worst at sex toys, insolvency and debt. It is noted that three of the top five JobKeeper postcodes have also previously been in the top five for mail order sex toys. If only correlation was causation.

The highest population Queensland postcodes are mostly the regional centres such as Cairns, Mackay and Toowoomba which remains I think the largest population postcode in Queensland. These are also regional business centres. You need to start amalgamating postcodes in Townsville to get a comparison with Cairns 4870. Multiple postcodes would need to be amalgamated on the Gold Coast for a comparison where the numbers would also be multiples higher. Something similar in NSW which features postcodes for Liverpool and Gosford which evolved as regional centres on the Sydney periphery.

No point ranting further on the professional inadequacies of News Ltd journalists and will refrain from comment on the diminishing status of the Australian Treasury. It did though cause me to review some interesting links such as  Australian Financial Security Authority which is now providing quarterly regional data at SA3 level rather than postcode on insolvencies, and also fortnightly Covid data.



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