Highlands jobless rate stays low

ONLY 0.03% of the Central Highlands population is unemployed, new data yesterday revealed.

The figure, which covers the 29,244 people who live in the area, was highlighted in a raw data report released by the Local Government Association of Queensland.

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire responded to the figures saying there were plenty of jobs around Emerald and the surrounding region.

He said about 3% of the area's workforce was unemployed, which reflected the positive new figures.

Following a downturn in the economy at the start of the year, things were looking positive for the region, Cr Maguire said.

“I think a lot of businesses are not doing too badly,” Cr Maguire said.

“I've spoken to some in the last two days that are struggling a little bit. Some are not that crash hot.”

Cr Maguire said he was seeing a lot of confidence in the area which he had noted through talking to people and in sales in the real estate market.

Central Highlands Regional Council's manager of employee services, Jenny Nuss yesterday said the unemployment rate had been fairly even for most of the year.

She said as the global economy continued to recover from a downturn she didn't expect any companies to start employing extra people.

“Our 3% unemployment rate has been static for a long time,” Ms Nuss said.

“I think because of the state of the economy, no one will put on additional people now; it's just about maintaining the workforce.”

Council chief executive Bryan Ottone yesterday said some businesses were still employing new staff.

“When the global economic downturn happened, the mines were restructuring what they were doing. Now we've got a lot more interest in employment,” Mr Ottone said.

From the report released yesterday revealing raw unemployment figures, the worst local government area was Cairns where 8.63% of the 158,000 population were without a job.

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