Small Area Labour Markets: June quarter 2022 data now available
The June quarter 2022 Small Area Labour Markets (SALM) estimates are now available. SALM presents estimates of unemployment and the unemployment rate at the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) and Local Government Area (LGA) levels.
The latest results show there has been a significant increase in the number of SA2s with an unemployment rate of less than 5% (from 937 to 1,536 over the past year). The number of SA2s with an unemployment rate of 10% or higher has also fallen considerably (from 259 to 104). These results reflect the strong recovery in labour market conditions that has occurred since the end of the 2021 COVID-19 related lockdowns.
When comparing SALM data over the year, it is important to note that the June quarter 2021 smoothed figures (an average of the 12 months to the last month of the quarter) include part of the period of softer labour market conditions that occurred after Australia’s initial lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19. While the June quarter 2022 figures cover the lockdowns associated with the 2021 COVID-19 outbreaks in south-eastern Australia in the second half of 2021, the negative impact of these lockdowns on the labour market was neither as severe nor as widespread as that associated with the initial wave of COVID-19.
The data also shows that around 9 in 10 SA2s (or 92.2%) recorded a decrease in their unemployment rate over the year to the June quarter 2022, the largest proportion recorded since the start of the series. SA2s located in capital cities were more likely to record a fall in their unemployment rate over the year than those outside capital cities (96% compared with 87%).
The NSC recommends that SALM users review the ‘smoothed’ SALM data which are 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.