Jobs boom gets us back to work
THOUSANDS of new jobs have been created in Townsville in the past year as the city recorded the largest annual employment growth rate of all Queensland regions.
Townsville’s employment growth in the 12 months to February 2018 was 12.6 per cent, which was well above the state average of 3.5 per cent, according to ABS labour force data.
About 11,900 jobs were created in Townsville in the past year – almost the same number as the total for the greater Brisbane area, which has 10 times the population.
There are currently about 9700 people unemployed in Townsville.
Economist Colin Dwyer said Townsville’s economy and workforce was improving but “still has a way to go” .
“Townsville region has been and is likely to remain a jobs hotspot,” he said.
Mr Dwyer said DS Economics had calculated the total number of approved construction projects in the Townsville region would inject an estimated $4.3 billion into the economy . These projects would create about 7686 direct jobs.
In addition there are about 40 potential or partially approved construction jobs that could create more than 8000 jobs. Analysis of these projects by DS Economics found there would be a growing need for civil engineers, project managers , diesel fitters, MC truck drivers, mining, marketing and communications skilled workers in Townsville.
Mr Dwyer said the year ahead was looking “more promising” than any of the past five years for workers.
“There are currently 1223 vacant positions on (job advertising website) SEEK for the Townsville region, an increase of 7.3 per cent for the month of February 2018,” he said.
“Townsville is in a more positive workforce position than it was at the same time last year. It’s likely that businesses , depending on industry, will be in a more competitive environment, especially for workforce supply.”
Mr Dwyer said youth, indigenous and over-50 s unemployment rates remained an issue. Townsville’s youth unemployment rate is currently 17.9 per cent, more than three times the rate in inner-city Brisbane.
“But the employed to population ratio increased 11.8 per cent in relative terms. This means local people are getting jobs,” he said. Mr Dwyer said large projects including the North Queensland Stadium and Haughton Bridge development would further bolster employment in Townsville.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the latest data was evidence of the government’s commitment to jobs creation.
“This is great news for our growing city,” he said.
Mundingburra MP Coralee O’Rourke said she was “proud” of the results.
“This is great news for thousands of local families,” Ms O’Rourke said.
Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said Townsville has reported the second highest increase in their participation rate across all 19 regions.
LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander argued the latest figures were “not good news” for Townsville as the 8.3 per cent unemployment was still 2.5 per cent higher than Cairns.
“Having the second highest unemployment rate in the nation is nothing to crow about,” Mr Mander said.
Copyright © 2018 The Townsville Bulletin. This article is from the March 31 issue of The Townsville Bulletin Digital Edition.