Townsville’s unemployment rate has started to improve

Queensland's unemployment figures were recently reported by Josh Bavas from ABC News.
Clayton Cook- TP Human Capital Managing Director, was interviewed to comment on the recent unemployment rate in Townsville to gain his expert opinion on where Townsville is heading.

Exerts of the article are below.
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When it comes to unemployment, Queensland currently has the second-highest rate in the country, behind South Australia.

The latest figures show the Sunshine State is sitting at 6.4 per cent compared to 5.2 per cent nationally, and far behind the economic powerhouses of New South Wales on 4.4 per cent and Victoria on 4.8 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.*

While those living around inner-city Brisbane are more likely to be in work, it is a different story across regional areas — some of which have seen unemployment skyrocket above 14 per cent.

Economists warn conditions may decline further if governments fail to encourage economic growth.


Hope as Townsville unemployment rate improves

Clayton Cook from recruitment company TP Human Capital said North Queensland was showing signs of improving after years of difficulties.

"The last time we saw a 7 per cent [unemployment] rate was back in 2014 — five years ago," Mr Cook said.

"In 2012-13, we saw the mining and commodities markets cool off a lot, and then that resulted in Queensland Nickel collapsing.

"At the same time, we had the State Government and local government reducing their budget expenditures and getting rid of staff … those [factors] impacted the Townsville confidence, and that created the last five years of economic difficulties."

He said demand for workers was finally beginning to increase.

"Townsville has a very diversified economy — some of the sectors that are important to Townsville like the mining and resources sectors have started to improve again," he said.

"Obviously there's a fair bit of government investment into the region with the stadium, pipeline project and there are a lot of projects on the immediate horizon so things are looking a lot better for the Townsville and North Queensland region."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Johnathan Thurston in hard hats in a stadium under construction

In Townsville this week, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the State Government has been focused on boosting growth in north Queensland, particularly in the wake of Queensland Nickel's collapse in 2016.

"Unemployment has gone from around 13 per cent to around 7 per cent here in Townsville," she said.

"Following the collapse of Queensland Nickel, we had an accelerated works program and also too we have been absolutely prioritising key components of infrastructure for this great city — $190 million here for the Townsville stadium, $225 million for water security (infrastructure) on top of that all of the flood recovery infrastructure and money that has gone back into the city get back on its feet."


Townsville jobseeker Marina Stoianovski sitting at a desk with recruiter Clayton Cook.

Marina Stoianovski is hoping to capitalise on the improved conditions in the north when she relocates from Melbourne to Townsville.

Ms Stoianovski is looking for a regional sea change and is currently on the hunt for a job before she moves.

"So far from what I've heard in Townsville, there are a lot of administration jobs, there are some venues as well that run functions and weddings so I've dropped off my resume to them as well," she said.

"Hopefully it should be fairly easy to find something.

"I know a lot of people from major cities that love small country towns and more of that community feel.

"It's a nice change of pace, that you do work but you feel more happy and relaxed."

*July 2019, ABS labour force figures