Reconstructing Australia's economic geography
New research at the University of Newcastle is investigating how to better use Australia's labour force statistics to generate more accurate estimates of regional employment and unemployment.
Professor Bill Mitchell and Associate Professor Martin Watts are using statistical methods to define the labour geography of regions and inform regional policy initiatives.
"At the moment, labour force statistics are collated by arbitary geographical regions," Professor Mitchell explained.
"However we know from our pilot study that economic behaviour is not contained to the regions as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. For example, of the people commuting from Gosford for work, more go to Newcastle than Sydney. Yet Gosford is often thought of as part of Sydney.
"Our research, which is supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant, will analyse commuting patterns to produce regional zones based on labour market behaviour.
"These zones will provide a better basis to compile and disseminate data likely to produce more efficient policy leading to outcomes at the regional level."
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