Region’s employment numbers the best since 2013

This article is from the Townsville Bulletin issue of Friday, 27 Nov, Tony Raggatt.

 

MORE people are employed in Townsville than at any time since 2013 but it has been a slow climb back, Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

The figures, contained in October monthly labour force results released yesterday, have been described by Townsville recruitment professional Clayton Cook and economist Colin Dwyer, as a “great effort”.

TP Human Capital managing director Clayton Cook said the number of people employed in the region of 111,500 was higher than when the lockdown from COVID-19 started taking effect in March (111,200), while the next highest number of 115,600 occurred in October 2013 at the height of the mining boom.

The region’s highest employment of 122,300 occurred when Julia Gillard was prime minister and Queensland premier was Anna Bligh.

“Federal and state policies have been crucial to maintaining local jobs,” Mr Cook said. “Townsville’s diversified jobs profile and varied significant project portfolio has helped the Townsville region produce a quicker recovery (from the pandemic) than many other regions.

“There are still Townsville locations with disadvantage but the region and local businesses can be proud of the way they have supported jobs in difficult times.”

The figures showed Townsville’s average jobless rate in the year to October was 6.5 per cent, down from 7.6 per cent at the same time last year.

Mr Cook said males had been impacted harder than females during the pandemic.

“This is contrary to the national trend. Regionally, male unemployment rate is 7.7 per cent but females are at traditional full employment (5.1 per cent),” he said.

Mr Cook said TP Human Capital’s jobs ads list remained solid with trades, health and social assistance positions remaining strong.

Economist Colin Dwyer said while some projects like the Sun Metals zinc refinery expansion and Bruce Highway upgrade at Haughton River would soon draw to a close, other projects like the CopperString transmission line network, the Singapore military training initiative, James Cook University’s Technology Innovation Complex building and Queensland Pacific Metals’ nickel cobalt refinery were expected to maintain the momentum.

“We are cautiously optimistic the net effect will be positive for jobs in the Townsville region during 2021,” Mr Dwyer said.

“Compared to 2016-17, this is a remarkable effort.”

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