JOBLESS RATE: Local unemployment figures are often showing wild up-and-down swings within weeks.
JOBLESS RATE: Local unemployment figures are often showing wild up-and-down swings within weeks. Michaela O'Neill

Swings and roundabouts in 2018 employment data

AT first glance a fall in the unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent in four months looks a fantastic result.

Drill deeper into the latest data released by the Australian Bureau Of Statistics (ABS) for the Coffs-Harbour and Mid North Coast zones and more puzzling trends emerge of sudden swings in percentages in very short time frames.

Put simple, the Coffs Harbour-Clarence unemployment rate in April was 7.0 per cent, down from 10.6 per cent in January with individual breakdowns for male and female (see below).

Further south, the Mid North Coast rate fell from 4.4 per cent in January, to 3.6 per cent in the latest release but with huge swings among some gender categories taking place within weeks.

An ABS spokesman said the numbers released were total percentages of all age groups.

They did not give specific details such as those for youth unemployment, what jobs created were full-time or casual with more detailed number crunching usually undertaken by research companies in specific commissions.

Smaller regional sample numbers compared to metropolitan population could be the reasons for the swings and may account for the situation in Coffs Harbour-Grafton where unemployed females were found to be 12.2 per cent in January, fell by almost half one month later but again rose by around 50 per cent within weeks.

Similarly, the percentage of unemployed Mid North Coast males went on a wild up-and-down ride across four months.

The good news overall is it appears about 800 people found jobs in Coffs Harbour-Grafton during this period without specific information on age groupings or status of employment.

However, it is alarming when considering information supplied by the Brotherhood Of St Lawrence who found a massive rise of 10.4 per cent in youth unemployment in two years, making Coffs Harbour-Grafton's situation the sixth worst in Australia.

Youth unemployment was declared at 9.4 per cent in January 2016 but soared to 19.8 per cent by the same time this year.



Coffs Harbour-Grafton

January - 10.6% total; 8.9% male; 12.2% female

February - 9.05 total; 10.8% male; 6.8% female

March - 7.7% total; 7.2% male; 8.3% female

April - 7.0% total; 5.6% male; 8.5% female

Mid North Coast

January - 4.4% total: 2.4% male; 6.35% female

February - 5.5% total; 4.5% male; 6.5% female

March - 3.3% total; 1.8% male; 4.9% female

April - 3.6% total; 4.1% male; 3.1% female