Yasi costs women jobs

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - by Martin Rasini martin. rasini@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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

to

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.’’

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