Research Discussion Paper – RDP 2002-04 Labour Market Adjustment in Regional Australia Abstract

Over the past two decades, there has been a marked divergence in regional labour market outcomes within Australia. In this paper, we examine two aspects of this divergence. First, we analyse the wide variation in employment growth rates, finding that stronger rates of employment growth were associated with industry structure, proximity to factor and product markets, and the level of regional amenity. Second, we investigate how regional labour markets adjusted to different employment conditions. While regional migration is found to be the dominant adjustment channel, the relative strength of the migration adjustment differs across regions. Out-migration, accompanying employment declines, was stronger amongst regions with initially high unemployment rates and low regional amenity. Similarly, regions with initially low rates of unemployment and high regional amenity experienced stronger rates of in-migration in response to rising employment.

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