Small Area Labour Markets publication

December quarter 2016

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 December quarter 2016 SALM estimates show that a majority (60.7 per cent) of SA2s recorded a fall in their unemployment rate over the year to the December quarter 2016, up from 45.4 per cent over the year to the December quarter 2015. Large falls were recorded in Cessnock in New South Wales (down from 17.4 per cent to 8.1 per cent), Mount Morgan in Queensland (down from 26.7 per cent to 19.1 per cent) and Port Pirie in South Australia (down from 17.7 per cent to 11.0 per cent).

In the December quarter 2016, 50.1 per cent of SA2s recorded an unemployment rate of less than 5.0 per cent, up from 44.2 per cent in the December quarter 2015, while 11.1 per cent of SA2s recorded an unemployment rate of 10.0 per cent or above, down from 14.0 per cent in the December quarter 2015.

Labour market developments at the LGA level

Unemployment has also decreased in the majority of LGAs, with 53.3 per cent having recorded a fall in their unemployment rate over the year to the December quarter 2016, up from 35.5 per cent over the year to the December quarter 2015. Large falls were recorded in Muswellbrook (A) in New South Wales (down by 6.8 percentage points to 5.6 per cent), Halls Creek (S) in Western Australia (down by 4.7 percentage points to 30.2 per cent) and West Daly (R) in the Northern Territory (down by 4.1 percentage points to 10.4 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 3.8 percentage points to 11.6 per cent) and Latrobe (C) in Victoria (up by 2.9 percentage points to 11.2 per cent).

In the December quarter 2016, 40.3 per cent of LGAs recorded an unemployment rate of less than 5.0 per cent, compared with 39.9 per cent in the December quarter 2015, while 10.3 per cent of LGAs recorded an unemployment rate of 10.0 per cent or above, down from 13.4 per cent in the December quarter 2015.

Significant differences exist at the State level, with 47.5 per cent of LGAs in Victoria recording an unemployment rate below 5.0 per cent, compared with 20.5 per cent in Queensland.

Next Issue

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