Queensland small businesses continue to drive the economy
Queensland small business has started the New Year in fine fashion with new data from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) confirming improved economic activity.
The latest CCIQ Queensland Economic Update – the fifth since its launch in September – follows on the trend from the last quarter of 2016 highlighting business momentum across the state.
CCIQ policy analyst Cameron Meiklejohn said a further drop in the official unemployment rate, combined with nation-leading retail trade figures and rising job vacancies, show Queensland small businesses had a solid period leading into the Christmas period.
He said latest unemployment data released by the ABS yesterday, which showed a 0.2 per cent increases in seasonally adjusted terms, may impact the next Economic Update in February.
The CCIQ Economic Performance Indicator, which measures the overall performance of the Queensland economy relative to the rest of Australia, has also climbed to its highest level since early 2013 – providing further evidence of the recovery that is taking place in this state.
“Unemployment has fallen for a third consecutive month, dropping by a further 0.1 points to 5.9 per cent in trend terms, which is the lowest unemployment rate since November 2013,” Mr Meiklejohn said.
“While a low participation rate continues to raise concerns surrounding the overall health of the labour market, the continued decline in unemployment does suggest that there is some sustained improvement in this key indicator of economic performance.
“The persistent differences in employment opportunities between South-East and Regional Queensland does raise concerns however, especially with a new high of 11.0 per cent unemployment being recorded in Townsville.
“Observed increases in the number of job vacancies across the past six months, especially from the private sector, offers some hope that labour market conditions could improve in 2017, especially across regional areas.”
Queensland’s success story – the retail trade – has recorded a second consecutive month of nation-leading growth, posting an increase of 4.3 per cent in the 12 months to November 2016, producing a return to normal growth in Queensland for the first time in almost three years.
“Household goods and, in particular, the subcategory of hardware, building and garden supplies, has continued to be a key driver of growth, with turnover increasing by 7.3 per cent in the 12 months to November 2016.
“It is the category of clothing, footwear and personal accessories however, which leads performance in the retail sector, achieving annual growth of 8.1 percent.”
Residential dwelling approvals continued to fall, with unit approvals in particular almost returning to normal levels in November.
“While legitimate concerns surrounding an oversupply of high-density residential stock, settlement risk, and falling rental yields persist, especially in the inner suburbs of Brisbane, it would appear that residential building approvals have now peaked in Queensland,” he said.
“While this will now result in a similar decline in the number of active residential construction sites and employment opportunities, it is hoped that a number of non-residential projects, and most notably the Queen’s Wharf development, will have capacity to absorb some of this slack.
“In broad terms, Queensland continues to show signs of economic recovery, with a number of key indicators suggesting a growing momentum as the state transitions further from the post-mining investment boom.”
Some of the key statistics contained in CCIQ’s Queensland Economic Update include:
- Overall economic performance continues to improve against the national average
- Retail sales rise by 0.3 per cent in trend terms
- Economic performance indicator rises by 1.4 points
- 5.9 per cent unemployment rate is 0.3 points higher than the national rate
- Unemployment rate has fallen for three consecutive months
- 28,200 fewer full-time jobs compared with this time last year
- Australian dollar will remain below US70c
- Lower currency will boost export industries and tourism
- Small business confidence will accelerate
About the Queensland Economic Update:
CCIQ’s monthly report will be crucial reading for the state’s 410,000 small businesses, industry groups, Government departments and politicians at all three levels. It will offer an ongoing examination of key indicators, covering labour, finance, construction, retail and demographics, delivering a much needed source of data and information for Queensland businesses.