The March quarter 2023 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% over the past year (up from 1,433 to 1,726). The number of SA2s with an unemployment rate of 10% or higher has fallen considerably (down from 131 to 78). These results reflect the strong recovery in labour market conditions that occurred following the end of the 2021 COVID-19 related lockdowns.
The data also show that more than 8 in 10 SA2s (or 83.2%) recorded a decrease in their unemployment rate over the year to the March quarter 2023. SA2s located in capital cities were more likely to record a fall in their unemployment rate over the year than those in rest of state areas (91.5% compared with 71.5%).
Jobs and Skills Australia 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, they also reduce the high level of statistical variability inherent in small area estimates, which may have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.