Payrolls updated to September

Weekly payroll data from ABS has been updated to September 11. Index is based to 100 in the week to March 14 2020.Two points of caution around this data.

First, the most recent weeks data in a release tends to subsequently be revised upwards which may make the trend appear weaker than the subsequent revision. The Cairns index number for August 14th was revised up by 0.5 with this release while Gold Coast was revised up by 1.1

Second is that there is a disparity between the regional and state data. ABS have indicated this is because not all payroll data can be attributed to a region. Consequently the Queensland index is now above all its comprising SA4 regions, which is obviously not so, and a perception that Cairns is lagging Queensland would be misleading.

Payrolls 0921 1

Queensland and Cairns have been highlighted here with a 4 week moving average. If all 19 Queensland SA4 regions represented here were ranked on their current level relative to the March 2020 base Cairns and Townsville would be at #9 and #10 in the middle (median).

Payrolls 0921 3

When we move down to SA3 level data the same effect doesn’t appear with the Cairns SA4 about where it should be hugging the most populous Cairns – South SA3:

Payrolls 0921 2

The recent bounce back in Douglas more closely resembles the August lockdown patterns in SEQ. Cairns regions have been surprisingly resilient despite this and along with the short (3 day) Cairns lockdown and two weeks of modest restrictions in August.

The position of Cairns – North at the bottom is interesting given the demographics and also the fastest population growth rate.


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