Yasi costs women jobs
A TOTAL of 2800 jobs were lost i n N o r t h a n d N o r t h - w e s t Queensland last month.
The jobless rate stood at 4.1 per cent and the number of people in work fell to 146,800, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Women bore the brunt of the fall, losing 5700 jobs, while the number of men in employment jumped by 2900, the ABS figures show.
However, the figures were substantially better than those for Cairns-centred Far North Queensland where the percentage of jobless rose from 9.6 per cent in January to 13 per cent.
The male unemployment rate sat at 14.2 per cent while female unemployment jumped from 7 per cent to 11.5 per cent.
South of Townsville in the Mackay-Fitzroy division, the jobless rate rose from 5.7 per cent to 6.3 per cent, with the percentage of men without employment jumping from 4 per cent to 5.8 per cent.
However, this is thought
Colin Dwyer reflect seasonal realities.
Townsville economist Colin Dwyer said yesterday the increase in the total number of jobless in the North and Northwest had been expected.
The fall in females in work and the rise in men with jobs was largely a consequence of Cyclone Yasi.
‘ ‘ T h e c y c l o n e i m p a c t e d heavily on the retail sector, causing stores and restaurants to close due to loss of power and also a lack of availability of fresh produce reaching markets and stores,’’ he said.
‘‘ Women form a significant component of the sector’s casual and part-time employment workforce and it is the lack of work for these people in the wake of Cyclone Yasi that is showing through in the ABS figures.’’
Women, who previously accounted for 49.6 per cent of the workforce in the North and North-west Queensland statistical divisions, represented just 46.4 per cent in February.
‘‘ Equally, the cyclone at the start of February was followed by clean-up and repair work, areas of employment that are largely the preserve of men and this, too, is coming through in the statistics,’’ Mr Dwyer said.
Mr Dwyer, who heads DS Economics, said the March ABS figures to be released next month were expected to show a lift in the number of women in work.
‘‘ Retail-sector businesses are again operating, so I would expect to see improved figures for women in the March statistics,’’ he said.
‘‘ Also, repair and clean-up work has continued well into March and we could well see overall jobless numbers fall below 4 per cent.’’