‘Achilles heel’: Unemployment holding back QLD recovery
PERSISTENTLY high unemployment will be Queensland's "Achilles heel" as it attempts an economic recovery in 2021, while JobKeeper switching off in March will create an uphill battle for tourism businesses to survive, according to a new report out today.
It predicts Queensland will have the highest unemployment of any state or territory this financial year of 7.5 per cent.
The Deloitte Access Economics quarterly business outlook further warns against the farming and coal bans being enforced by China forcing a desperate scramble to find new markets for goods.
But DAE senior economist Chris Richardson said there would need to be "heavy policy lifting" to repair the economy in Queensland, while border closures during the pandemic will continue to hurt its tourism industry.
"The state's Achilles heel remains its persistently high unemployment and underemployment," he said.
"Without addressing the structural issues in the economy that are keeping these elevated, a sustained recovery will be more difficult for the state."
Queensland's predicted unemployment for 2020-21 was 7.5 per cent, compared to NSW at 6.4 per cent, Victoria and South Australia at 6.9 per cent, Tasmania at 7.2 per cent and WA at 6.4 per cent.
The Palaszczuk Government would not set an employment target during the election campaign, with Treasurer Cameron Dick at the time saying the LNP's 5 per cent unemployment target was "not worth the paper it's written on".
The national unemployment rate is currently 6.8 per cent, while Queensland's 7.7 per cent as of November 2020.
But Mr Richardson said the strong health response to coronavirus means businesses have been able to open up and stay open to a greater extent.
"That puts the states economic recovery several steps in front of some other parts of the country - and even more of the rest of the world," he said.
He said the national economy was entering 2021 better than had been predicted, with 4.4 per cent growth in the gross domestic product expected now.
Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said while there were welcome signs of recovery underway, the report highlighted substantial challenges for high unemployment.
"The Morrison Government should not and cannot declare victory while more than two million Australians are either without a job or don't have enough hours and wages are stagnant," he said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said that the nation's economic recovery is under way, having been supported by JobKeeper, which was intended to be temporary and has already been extended by six months.
Originally published as 'Achilles heel': Unemployment holding back QLD recovery