Job­less fig­ures on way down

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

TOWNSVILLE’S un­em­ploy­ment rate is the low­est in al­most a year but there are still al­most 11,000 peo­ple out of work.

The an­nual av­er­age Townsville un­em­ploy­ment rate re­leased by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics yes­ter­day came in at 9.7 per cent for the month of June, down from 10.1 per cent in May.

The last time the rate was at 9.7 per cent was in June and July last year.

The Townsville re­gional work­force has grown by 700 peo­ple to 112,800 but 10,900 peo­ple are still un­em­ployed.

Townsville’s June 2017 un­em­ploy­ment par­tic­i­pa­tion rate dropped 0.5 per cent in 12 months to 59.9 per cent, slightly up on May’s 59.7 per cent.

Townsville MP Scott Ste­wart said the fig­ures were well be­low where they needed to be but he was pleased the city was head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

Mr Ste­wart at­trib­uted the slight im­prove­ment in job op­por­tu­ni­ties to “very pop­u­lar” State Govern­ment ini­tia­tives such as the Youth Boost and Back to Work pro­grams.

“We still have a hell of a lot of work to do but th­ese ( pro­grams) have given us a re­ally good shot in the arm,” he said.

Mr Ste­wart said he was sur­prised to read in yes­ter­day’s Townsville Bul­letin that busi­ness­man Gavin Short had to close his Her­mit Park sa­lon be­cause he couldn’t find hair­dressers.

“I think it comes back to get­ting peo­ple to think about the di­verse ways they can tran­si­tion into work and use op­por­tu­ni­ties as a step­ping stone to get them to the next job,” he said.

Min­is­ter for Em­ploy­ment Se­na­tor Michaelia Cash was yes­ter­day un­avail­able for com­ment but a Depart­ment of Em­ploy­ment spokesman said the Fed­eral Govern­ment recog­nised the best form of wel­fare was a job.

He said one of the ways the Govern­ment was look­ing to in­crease the par­tic­i­pa­tion rate was through the Youth Jobs PaTH ( Pre­pare, Trial Hire), a Fed­eral Govern­ment in­vest­ment of $ 760 mil­lion that is help­ing more young peo­ple into em­ploy­ment.

Clay­ton Cook, head of Townsville- based hu­man re­source, re­cruit­ment and train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion TP Hu­man Cap­i­tal said the city’s re­gional econ­omy was show­ing solid signs of re­cov­ery.

“There are more job ads now than there were 12 months ago, there are more job cre­at­ing projects on the hori­zon than there were 12 months ago and con­fi­dence in Townsville is better than it was 12 months ago,” he said.

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