A total 332 million hours were worked across Queensland in February
A total 332 million hours were worked across Queensland in February Cade Mooney

Unemployment up but we worked an extra 2 million hours

THE unemployment rate across Queensland is worse but we worked 2 million more hours in February than in January.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the Queensland unemployment rate rose by 0.2% between January and February this year - going from 6.5% to 6.7%.

Now it is the highest it has been since November, when it reached 6.8%.

Unemployment may be on the rise but it doesn't mean Queenslanders are not working hard.

Figures showed a total 332 million hours were worked across Queensland in February - which was 2 million more than January.

ABS Labor Force Support Surveys director Stephen Collett said this was mainly because of population growth.

He also said sometimes the unemployment rate showed how the number of employed people could be not keeping up with the increasing population.

Mr Collett said the number of hours worked acted differently to the employment stats but combined could show that more employers were electing to have staff work overtime rather than employ more people while there was not enough confidence in the demand for services and products.

It is expected regional unemployment statistics will be released next week (March 19) and Griffith University employment relations professor David Peetz said the biggest impact on unemployment figures for any region was how the nation was trending.

"And the national labour market is not all that healthy at the moment," he said.

"Queensland has likewise been getting worse."

Prof Peetz said a region's economic structure played a role in unemployment figures, along with the previous government's policies where public servants lost their jobs and the mining downturn.

When job cuts are made, Prof Peetz said it was not just the local region that would feel the effects. Especially in the mining industry, workers fly into mines from coastal and metropolitan areas.

"The initial impact of cutbacks in mining jobs can be felt right across the state," he said.

"And then you've got the support services - the people who do the maintenance on the equipment for mines and people providing the accommodation to camps ... they will start to feel the effects as well."

He said the national unemployment figure was constantly on the rise, and last year was higher than during the global financial crisis.

- APN NEWSDESK



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