Chamber upbeat as jobless rate falls

Zoe Keenan and Gavin BoxGeraldton Guardian
File image.
Camera IconFile image. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Unemployment in the City of Greater Geraldton has fallen to its lowest level since June 2013, according to latest figures from the Department of Employment.

The department’s Small Area Labour Markets report shows the smooth unemployment rate for the March quarter this year was 5.7 per cent, down 0.6 per cent on the December 2016 quarter.

The unemployment rate in Geraldton has been falling since 2015, when it reached a peak of 7.6 per cent in December that year.

Industries with the highest rate of employment in Geraldton, according to area specific data and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, are retail, healthcare and education and training.

Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Glen Whistler-Carr said the figures showed there was more confidence in the marketplace.

“Businesses are looking at employing people, creating positions and reassessing what services they’re offering,” he said.

“There has been a resurgence in the mining industry, which has also helped service companies employ more people.”

Mr Whistler-Carr said there were still challenging times ahead for some industries but businesses were preparing for growth in the resources industry.

“A lot of businesses are making sure that they have the necessary skill basis in place for when there is any growth within the mining and oil and gas sectors,” he said.

“They’re employing, training and making sure they’re positioned to take advantage of any upward movement.”

Mr Whister-Carr said job vacancies were dominated by part-time and casual positions, rather than full-time, but this wasn’t necessarily a negative.

“For some people, this works better as it gives them a variety of activities, suits them more, and as the old saying goes, it’s easier to find a job if you’ve got a job.”

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