Experts query youth unemployment rate figures

NEW statistics have found Ballarat to have one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Victoria, but local employment experts remain sceptical on the accuracy of the findings. 

Yesterday the Brotherhood of St Laurence released February statistics revealing Ballarat’s unemployment rate for youth aged between 15 and 24 as 9.2 per cent. 

The unemployment rate was the second lowest in the state, with Shepparton (6.2 per cent) and the North West (9.3 per cent). 

Last month youth unemployment in Victoria hit 14 per cent.

But Ballarat Trades and Labour Council president Brett Edgington said while he was happy with the results, he remained sceptical about their accuracy. 

“I think (the result) has more to do with Ballarat being a university town,” Mr Edgington said. 

“TAFE enrolments have increased in Ballarat and apprenticeships are up.” 

Mr Edgington said unlike Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the results did not factor in young people on government benefits.

“With those figures and the rates in participation ... I’m always sceptical when they come out,” he said. 

“I’m very wary with figures like that.” 

Mr Edgington said the unemployment rate did not factor in the number of young people working in unstable casual work, changing career paths or returning to study.

“Young people are jumping around in education and training courses and dropping out of the work force to up-skill,” he said. 

Last May, Mr Edgington told The Courier that youth unemployment rates for young people aged 15 to 19 could be higher than 27 per cent. 

His comments come off the back of reports the youth unemployment rate was 24.2 per cent in April last

year.

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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