Ballarat unemployment rate of 4.9% mirrors rest of state in downward trend

BALLARAT is mirroring the rest of the state as unemployment figures continue on a downward trend. 

A sense of optimism has developed in the region, according to industry figures who say it has been a turnaround from the past 18 months. 

The regional unemployment rate for the state sits at 4.9 per cent, which is the lowest of any state in Australia, according to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data. 

Ballarat falls into the Central Highlands-Wimmera district, which has an unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent. 

The figures have been averaged out over the past three months. 

Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry regional manager Ross Wheatland said the statistics were similar to what he had heard from local employers. 

“It is quite stable. We have been through a period of instability in terms of unemployment figures,” he said.  “Definitely the last three or four months have been far more positive.”

The regional average unemployment rate Australia-wide sits at 5.7 per cent. 

Mr Wheatland said he believed the recent election had something to do with the positive change. 

“We do speak to employers a lot in our capacity, we speak to them on a daily basis. Definitely their sentiment recently has been far more positive,” he said. 

“I think there has been a period of underperforming almost, and finally we have got to the point where there is actually some opportunity and growth potential in the region that people are starting to take up on.” 

Australian Industry Group regional manager Kay Macaulay echoed Mr Wheatland’s thoughts and said she considered Ballarat’s job market as stable.

“I think employment is quite strong but in saying that I don’t think there has been an influx or a creation of new jobs,” she said. 

“I would say what you would find is people are not moving very much.

“They are staying in their jobs and employers are trying to hold on to the skilled labour.

“They have to, because they know if they let them go it will be hard to get them back when they need them.”

matthew.dixon.fairfaxmedia.com.au

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