Construction helping to turn around job prospects
BUOYED by major construction, the Wide Bay has had its unemployment rate drop, bringing smiles to the faces of Bundaberg jobseekers.
Data from the Queensland Government Statistician's Office showed the average Wide Bay unemployment rate, for the year ending April 2016, dropped 2.6% to 8.7% from the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of employed people in the region shot up by 10.9% to 112,000 people for the same period.
The participation rate was 51.2%
Wide Bay economic consultant Neil McPhillips said the greatest multiplier for economic development was construction.
"We can zero in all the stuff locally with construction of the Multiplex, gas pipeline, Knauf and some of those major projects coming to fruition," Mr McPhillips said.
He said there had been reasonable economic growth in the region, through agriculture and horticulture.
"That generates activity in its own right," he said . "I think overall there is more confidence in the region."
That sentiment was echoed by Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson.
"These figures are great news for our local community," Ms Donaldson said.
"Seeing our unemployment figures drop and the number of people working on the rise is good news for Bundaberg and the Wide Bay," she said.
I know there is still a lot to do but we should be celebrating the good news that thousands more people have found work in the past year.
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was encouraging to see data reflecting more people were finding employment but added the figure was still too high.
"(The) council supports the NewsMail's Fair Go for Bundy campaign and would like to see state and federal governments working with the community, council and local business to identify genuine job creation programs," Cr Dempsey said.
While excited about the future, Mr McPhillips said the number of people trying to find work in the Wide Bay was still low.
"We have, to some degree, created a welfare society, and I think governments at all levels need to turn that around."