I try not to comment on politics in Australia. To be honest I’m disappointed in the direction the political narrative has taken in this country, be it at the State of Federal level. However, after hearing the sound bites that followed the release of unemployment data yesterday it was enough to stir me into looking at the seasonally-adjusted figures for Queensland in December. One side of politics pointed to those figures, the other to the trend series. Both used to be reliable, now, unfortunately, only the trend can be deemed to be somewhat-accurate, especially at the State level.
As the above chart shows unemployment fell to 6.13% in seasonally-adjusted terms, some 0.655% lower than November and well below the recent peak of 7.03% peak struck in October. Female unemployment dropped to 6.09%, a full 1.23ppts lower than October, while that for males dipped to 6.17% from 6.84% in November. Punchy moves in anyone language. Still, are the figures reliable? Only two months earlier unemployment jumped 0.716% with that amongst females surging by 0.76%. Did the economy improve so quickly in just 60 days to spark a tremendous turnaround? Digging deeper the two-month change, at -0.9%, was the largest seen since October 1997. This was also the case for females. In numeric terms, at 15,900, the decline in total unemployed was also the largest seen since June 2012.
So what drove the dive in unemployment? The answer is intriguing given overall participation increased by 0.7% from a month earlier (thanks to rounding the s.a figure was reported unchanged at 65.3%). Full time employment surged by 34,390 with the increase the largest seen since July 2008. Topping that statistic, full time employment growth amongst females came in at 31,210, the largest ever increase in the history of the survey! Amazing numbers, particularly at a time when most of the nation is knocking off for the holiday break. Not in Queensland, no. While the figures are what they are I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the drop in unemployment/leap in employment was reflective of real-life reality.
NB. I take aim at the LNP here but I don’t blame them for using the seasonally-adjusted data. If the shoe was on the other foot Labor would be proudly parading the same numbers also. Sadly, this is what politics in Australia has become of late. Bashing the other side rather than working for entire nation.