Ballarat's jobless rate jumps in February

BALLARAT’S unemployment rate has jumped again in February, rising 1 per cent in the last month to 7 per cent.

Over the past three months, the number of unemployed people in Ballarat has risen 2.7 per cent from 4.3 per cent, according to latest numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Labor jumped on the figures and said they equated to the loss of more than 4000 jobs in Ballarat in the past month.

“Under Denis Napthine, Ballarat is losing jobs, businesses are closing their doors and workers are worried about their future,” said Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight.

“Our region has lost over 4000 jobs in the past month but Denis Napthine still doesn’t have a jobs plan.

“The only jobs Liberals and Nationals fight for are their own and

families in Ballarat deserve better.”

The state government defended its record and said the statistics did not represent the true picture, which showed the number of people employed had increased by 2800 since November.

Treasurer Michael O’Brien said employment in regional Victoria remained the strongest in the country.

“40,900 regional jobs were created across Australia in the year to February and more than half of those jobs are located in regional Victoria,” he said.

“While regional job figures are subject to volatility, the clear trend shows that the Victorian Coalition government is driving job creation and building a better regional Victoria.

“Victoria’s regional unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent remains below the national regional average of 6.5 per cent and continues to remain below the rate of 6.3 per cent when Labor left office in November 2010.”

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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