Jobless rate rises in Ballarat, Bendigo

UNEMPLOYMENT in Ballarat and Bendigo has risen almost two per cent, to a total of 6.8 per cent, over the past month, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

The latest statistics for June show unemployment in these regional cities remains higher than statewide levels, currently at 6.4 per cent, while national joblessness is at 5.9 per cent. 

Despite unemployment in both regions jumping from 5 per cent in May, Western District Employment Access Ballarat site manager Angela Harris described the region as a “healthy market”. 

“The number of people we’ve placed into jobs certainly hasn’t dropped off,” she said. 

Ms Harris, who has about 650 clients looking for work in Ballarat, said June tended to be a quieter job-creating month as employers were focusing on the financial year deadline. 

Hospitality, tourism and administration were industries that “dropped off” in the winter months, according to Ms Harris, who said manufacturing and wholesalers in particular were employing a lot more people. 

The Courier reported in June that Ballarat’s youth unemployment in April had climbed to almost 24 per cent, more than double the same time last year. 

Labour candidate for the seat of Buninyong Geoff Howard said he was concerned when unemployment rates were above 5 per cent, but was especially wary of how the figures related to younger people. 

“You want young people to feel confident that when they leave school they can be on their pathway to a job,” he said. 

“It’s got to be the focus of any government to work with industry and build job opportunities.

“There’s never been a jobs plan in place from the current government.”

Liberal candidate for Wendouree Craig Coltman said the results were a “mixed bag” in that they were good for regional Victoria but not Ballarat.

He said the figures placed an importance on the Napthine government’s plan to develop a Ballarat West Employment zone.

william.vallely@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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