The March quarter 2021 Small Area Labour Markets (SALM) estimates are now available through our Labour Market Information Portal. SALM presents estimates of unemployment and the unemployment rate at the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) and Local Government Area (LGA) levels.
The March quarter estimates show that more than four in five SA2s recorded an increase in their unemployment rate over the year, the largest proportion since the start of the series. As shown in the above chart, in each jurisdiction, with the exception of the Northern Territory, more than three quarters of SA2s have recorded a rise in their unemployment rate over the past year.
In addition, the data show that SA2s in capital cities (91.1%) were more likely to record an increase in their unemployment rate than those outside the capital cities (73.5%). In Greater Melbourne, the unemployment rate rose in 290 out of 304 SA2s (or 95.4%) over the period, the largest proportion of any capital city.
The NSC recommends that SALM users review the ‘smoothed’ SALM data which is created by applying a four-quarter average to ‘unsmoothed’ SALM data. While the smoothed data will lag actual changes in labour market conditions, it also reduces the high level of statistical variability inherent in small area estimates which may be exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.