Unemployment improves in 2019

Townsville Workforce Performance 2019

Townsville economy and jobs market was driven by several factors in 2019.  The greatest impact was from the floods early in the year.  But Townsville still had a lot going for it in 2019, strong business confidence returned, significant projects helped drive construction work, new festivals and events drove positive activity in restaurants and cafes and of course Townsville had its best unemployment rate in five years.  Challenges still existed with local retail struggling with internet competition, male unemployment still too high and youth a older workers struggling to find work.

Director of TP Human Capital Clayton Cook said "Townsville 12 month average unemployment rate is 7.5% and as expected, it has eased at this time of year.  Over 2019 the unemployment rate dropped almost 1%, driven by flood reconstruction work, significant projects and health and NDIS work. We expect unemployment to marginally deteriorate over the coming 3 months as hundreds of school leavers look for work.  Male unemployed remained too high at 8.3%, with youth and older workers struggling to secure a job.  Total unemployed people in Townsville dropped by about 1,000 people to October 2019.

townsville blog
tsv stadium

Townsville workforce remained steady throughout 2019 with 107,700 workers, up about 300 workers since January.

November through to January is a busy time for retail, removalists, property managers, bond cleaners, yard maintenance, restaurants, cafes, taxi, pubs and small crops.  Mining is also performing strongly and theres been solid enquiry for tradespeople.  Flood recovery work is still ongoing and there are reports of wait periods for residential handymen and household tradespeople.

Townsvilles end of year celebrations and Christmas shopping period is performing solidly. Some Restaurants precincts are experiencing good trade and sound job creation. Taxi and ride providers still have jobs vacancies. November to December is peak mango and lychee season with lots of opportunity. Renovation work on residential and commercial buildings is strong with some reports that work is being delayed by 2 -3 weeks due to solid demand and crowding out.

Those businesses with less activity include tourism accommodation providers and education services.  Education providers are finishing up for the year. As the weather warms up and a variety of nasties share our favourite swimming spots and fewer tourists visit Townsville. This means a slower time for accommodation providers. Despite a tight vacancy rate and lower mortgage costs there was no sign of a pick up in construction related to new residential approvals in 2019. The coming wet season is also likely to dampen any activity over the next 3-4 months.

We see the net impact over 2019 as positive general business and hiring conditions but the jobs market is shallow in certain sectors. There are many opportunities to find work or start a business, however we expect unemployment to rise slightly over the next quarter as school leavers join the search for work.

In 2020 we expect the stadium to be completed and hundreds of casual jobs to become available not only in the CBD stadium but also in restaurants surrounding the Stadium.  We expect more events and sporting activity occurring in the stadium and CBD in 2020 and Townsville’s mid year festivals to expand.  Projects commencing or continuing in 2020 include The Haughton Bridge and north beaches Federal government highway upgrades, the water pipeline duplication and Sun Metals expansion.  A New high performance building near the stadium is likely to start in 2020, as is a new $96m JCU STEAM building, $50m renovations on the airport, a new $52m ferry terminal and hotel, the $193m TPA channel widening and a $19m extension to the Mater Hospital.

This year has been a solid recovery year for Townsville with the best unemployment rate in five years.  Business confidence has remain positive and strong flowing through to better hiring conditions. There are still Skills gaps in Townsville and Townsville did not reached its consistent Goldilocks zone in 2019. We expect 2020 to be a consolidating period for most businesses and the public sector hiring.  If several planned major projects start in 2020 Townsville could experience more skills gaps and shortages and hiring conditions improve.  We expect unemployment to rise in early 2020 but start falling by mid 2020.


Clayton Cook