Small Area Labour Markets publication

March quarter 2017

Small Area Labour Markets

Introduction

Small Area Labour Markets presents regional estimates of unemployment and the unemployment rate at two small area levels:

  • For approximately 2,100 Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Statistical Area Level 2s (SA2s), on a State/Territory and Metropolitan/Non-metropolitan basis, provided in Table 1. For the States, estimates for the Capital City and the Balance of each State are also provided; and
  • For each of Australia’s 550 Local Government Areas (LGAs), provided in Table 2.

The estimates in Table 1 and 2 are smoothed using a four-quarter average to minimise the variability inherent in small area estimates. A description of the methodology used to prepare the estimates in this publication is presented in the Explanatory Notes on this site as well as on page 49 of the PDF publication, page 6 of the linked PDF text only and Word text only documents.

Caution: Highly disaggregated estimates of unemployment and the unemployment rate at the SA2 and LGA level can display significant variability and should be viewed with caution. Indeed, quarter-to-quarter comparisons may not be indicative of actual movements in the labour market. It is therefore recommended that year-on-year comparisons be used.

Labour market developments at the SA2 level

The March quarter 2017 SALM estimates show that more than half (61.0 per cent) of SA2s recorded a fall in their unemployment rate over the year to the March quarter 2017, up from 50.7 per cent over the year to the March quarter 2016. Large falls were recorded in Halls Creek in Western Australia (down from 35.1 per cent to 27.6 per cent), Cessnock in New South Wales (down from 14.4 per cent to 8.2 per cent) and Port Pirie in South Australia (down from 16.5 per cent to 10.3 per cent). 

In the March quarter 2017, 50.5 per cent of SA2s recorded an unemployment rate of less than 5.0 per cent, up from 45.3 per cent in the March quarter 2016, while 11.0 per cent of SA2s recorded an unemployment rate of 10.0 per cent or above, down from 13.1 per cent in the March quarter 2016.

Labour market developments at the LGA level

Unemployment has also decreased in the majority of LGAs, with 55.3 per cent having recorded a fall in their unemployment rate over the year to the March quarter 2017, up from 41.0 per cent over the year to the March quarter 2016. Large falls were recorded in Derby-West Kimberley (S) in Western Australia (down by 5.7 percentage points to 21.5 per cent), West Daly (R) in the Northern Territory (down by 4.9 percentage points to 9.4 per cent) and Muswellbrook (A) in New South Wales (down by 4.4 percentage points to 5.9 per cent).

That said, a number of LGAs recorded a rise in their unemployment rate, with large increases recorded in Northam (S) in Western Australia (up by 4.0 percentage points to 12.6 per cent) and Torres Strait Island (R) in Queensland (up by 3.9 percentage points to 30.8 per cent).

In the March quarter 2017, 43.0 per cent of LGAs recorded an unemployment rate of less than 5.0 per cent, compared with 38.1 per cent in the March quarter 2016, while 10.5 per cent of LGAs recorded an unemployment rate of 10.0 per cent or above, down from 12.5 per cent in the March quarter 2016.

Significant differences exist at the State level, with 52.3 per cent of LGAs in New South Wales recording an unemployment rate below 5.0 per cent, compared with just 26.9 per cent in Queensland.

Next Issue

It is anticipated that the June quarter 2017 issue of SALM will be released in September 2017.

Contact details

This report was prepared by the Labour Market Analysis and Advice Section within the Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch. For further information, please contact Joel Meehan on (02) 6240 5358, or email:  salm@employment.gov.au.