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  • 22 Mar 2021 3:33 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    While much has been said by economists and the State Government about the effect of Queensland’s health outcomes in its labour force statistics since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, little has been mentioned about the role its industry composition relative to other states has played in employment outcomes.

    Accordingly, it is interesting to compare the changes in employment composition by industry of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria from a period at the outset of the pandemic to one in more recent times.

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics publish a quarterly, detailed labour force series that provides a breakdown of employment within each ANZSIC sector by state and territory.

    With the most recent being to November 2020 (the February print due shortly on 25th March), the following statistics show that the largest employment sectors for Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in November in 2019.

    While Health Care and Social Services is by far the largest employing industry for all states in November 2019, for Queensland, sectors including Accommodation and Food Services, Public Administration and Safety, Other Services, Rental Hiring and Real Estate Services as well as traditional industries including Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Mining represented a relatively larger proportion of total state employment.

    Fast forward to November 2020 and comparing November year on year to avoid seasonal factors - what a difference a year like 2020 has made.

    In Queensland, the largest number of job losses were in industries including Accommodation and Food Services, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Construction and Other Services.

    However, there were substantial gains in Public Administration and Safety, Financial and Insurance Services and traditional industries including Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Mining.

    Interestingly, in contrast to large falls in New South Wales and Victoria, employment in Manufacturing actually increased in Queensland.

    Considering the proportional changes within industry employment composition across the Queensland economy over the year to November 2020, not only has hiring in the public sector in administration and safety been the largest source of employment growth in the state, but Queensland’s traditional primary industries have also been substantial drivers of job creation in addition to Financial and Insurance Services.

  • 19 Mar 2021 5:21 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    National, state and territory population data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the September quarter, 2020 show that Queensland experienced the greatest quarterly as well as annual population growth in the nation in both absolute and relative terms.

    Over the quarter, net interstate migration into Queensland led the nation with a population increase of 8,661 persons (+0.17%) comprised of positive net internal migration of 7,237, a natural increase (births less deaths) of 7,120 persons, which was offset by a negative net overseas net migration (arrivals less departures) of -5,696 persons.

    The yearly statistics to September show a similar story, with Queensland's population growth of 68,175 (+1.33%) the highest in the nation in both absolute and relative terms.

    Again, positive net interstate migration to Queensland of 28,571 persons was a key driver of population growth with the state receiving an influx of outbound residents from the south-eastern seaboard states in particular, where New South Wales registered negative net interstate migration of -20,388 persons and Victoria -3,536 persons over the year to September.

    While quarterly net interstate migration into Queensland during September is above the historical state average of 5,914 persons from June 1981 to September 2020, it is important to acknowledge that recent levels of net internal migration into the state is not as strong as during past periods including between the late 1980s and mid 1990s as well as more recently in the beginning to mid 2000s.

    Nevertheless, above average population growth is a welcome sign for the state  economy with a simple linear regression line showing population has a strong positive association with economic output, with every additional person being associated with a $116,880 increase in gross state product.

  • 18 Mar 2021 5:26 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Labour force data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that 88,700 jobs (+0.7%) were created across Australia over the month with the national unemployment rate falling from 6.3% in January to 5.8% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis.

    Queensland put on around 24,000 jobs over the month (+0.9%) with full-time employment increasing by almost 53,800, which offset a fall in part-time positions of -29,900.

    On a year on year basis, the number of employed persons is up around 33,600 on February last year (+1.3%), with total male employment up 18,500 and total female employment up 15,100.

    The number of unemployed persons in the state fell also over the month by -23,000 as Queensland's headline unemployment rate fell -0.8% to 6.1%, with the male unemployment rate of 6.4% higher than the female rate of 5.8%.

    Despite the welcome monthly improvement, Queensland maintains the second highest unemployment rate in the nation behind South Australia.

  • 14 Mar 2021 9:16 AM | Dr Marcus Smith
    The Queensland government has defended the rise in public sector wages growth of over last year as the result of the catching up on wage freezes across the sector. Yet the fact remains that over the 2 years, December 2018-20, public sector wage growth in the state was 3.9% (average of 1.94% per annum), which was substantially above private sector wage growth of 3.2% (average of 1.62% per annum) and above inflation (Brisbane CPI) of 3.1% (average of 1.54% per annum).

  • 13 Mar 2021 9:07 AM | Dr Marcus Smith

    ABS corrective services statistics for December quarter, 2020 in Queensland show that the number of persons in full-time custody was up 5.6% (494) since last December quarter. Breaking down the stats, the number of males in full-time custody was up 5.9%, the number of females up 2.1%, the number non-indigenous persons was up 4.5%, while the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons was up 7.8% year on year at December 2020.

    Queensland Government are going to need a bigger boat, with more jails, and with population growth they will also need more dams, more roads and more rail - and not the Brisbane inner city underground-type.


  • 9 Mar 2021 8:53 AM | Dr Marcus Smith

    The Federal HomeBuilder grants have been well received especially in Queensland, with ABD data showing a substantial pick-up in building approval activity and loan commitments in the state driven by positive net interstate migration.

    But on face value the banks are tilted up on mortgages as it is, before the RBA interventions to buy up all the state governments debt that investors in the international markets won't buy.

    This implies that, while the RBA keep printing, state government's can obfuscate  "market discipline” in the meantime as investors would otherwise typically punish poor financial management by demanding higher interest rates on their debt issues.

  • 6 Mar 2021 4:58 PM | Anonymous

    ABS National Accounts data for December, 2020 show Australian living standards (proxied by RGDP per capita) have grown positively for the second consecutive quarter since the free falls observed in March and particularly the June quarters, but remain -1.8% down on December last year.

    Australian household savings rate has also been retreating after the recent highs due to the early superannuation release, as well as Commonwealth Government's JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs.

  • 26 Feb 2021 10:22 AM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Quarterly statistics compiled by the Australian Financial Security Authority for the December quarter, 2020 show that total personal insolvencies have fallen across Queensland over the past five years, with the Federal Government’s JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs as well as the insolvent trading moratorium, clearly having a significant impact on reducing the number of persons succumbing to financial distress across the state during 2020.

    Queensland’s unenviable title of the nation’s bankruptcy capital remained intact during the 2020 calendar year, leading the nation in both the absolute number of annual personal insolvencies as well as on a per-population basis of civilian persons aged 15 years and above.

    Disaggregating the data down to the SA4 level, the statistics show that the decrease in insolvencies has been consistent across all regions of Queensland from 2016 to 2020.

    On a per-capita basis including civilian persons over 15 years, the headline rate for Queensland was 0.11%, with the highest rates of insolvencies per capita during 2020 were recorded in the Logan-Beaudesert (0.4%), Gold Coast (0.39%), Ipswich (0.19%) and Moreton Bay South (0.15%) regions.

    With the winding up of the Federal Government Stimulus programmes and the end to the insolvency trading moratorium at the end of last year, there has been much speculation about whether the honeymoon may be over - Is this the calm before the storm?

    It will be interesting to continue to monitor how these trends develop over coming quarters to gauge whether Queensland faces a hard or relatively softer landing regarding personal and business financial distress across the state.

  • 11 Feb 2021 10:40 AM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Annual Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released today for 2019-20 shows a tragic indication of the current property crime and public safety crisis engulfing Queensland, which is highlighted by the harrowing events that have recently occurred in Alexandra Hills and Townsville.

    Principal offender statistics by state for the 2019-20 financial year to June show that Queensland had the highest offender rates of theft in the nation at 276.4 persons per 100,000 aged 10 and over - well above the national rate of 174.7 (including Queensland).

    Looking at the subdivision categories of theft, unsurprisingly, with motor vehicle theft being currently an incendiary issue across the state, Queensland retained the highest rate of theft in the nation at 52.3 persons per 100,000 aged 10 years and above, which was over double the national rate of 24.3 persons and up from 49.4 persons during 2018-19.

    The rate of theft other than motor vehicles was also the highest in the nation at 193.9 persons per 100,000 aged 10 and above, which is well above the national rate of 129.2 persons despite being down from 205.2 persons during 2018-19.

    Rates of principal offenders receiving or handling proceeds of crime was 26.0 persons per 100,000 aged 10 and above, which is again the highest rate in the country and above the national rate of 19.6 persons which has also decreased from 25.0 persons during 2018-19.

    Youth crime statistics for theft nationally show that, at 375.0 persons per 100,000 between the age of 10 and 17 years, Queensland narrowly retained the second highest rate of offenders behind Western Australia, with the state's youth property crime rate being substantially above the national rate of 271.4 persons.

    With the Queensland Government’s pledge to take tough action on youth crime across the state, seasonal observers may remain justifiably cynical of whether the government can meaningfully turn this crisis around, having heard this kind of rhetoric before.

    As Scott Emerson pointed out in his commentary during his 4BC Drive radio segment yesterday, 10th February a press release dated from March last year “mirrors” a release dated just days ago by the state government on Tuesday 9th February. 

    The fact is that the relatively high rates of property crime in Queensland remain glaringly obvious to anyone bothering to glean over them as I discussed in a previous Brisbane West Chamber article dated 30th September last year where I examined victimisation rates per total population.

    It is high time that the Queensland Labor Government stop governing by facile press conferences and start making some tough and decisive decisions to address the property crime and public safety crisis currently engulfing the state. 

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