Nation's rising unemployment may be an opportunity for CQ

Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 by EditorNo comments

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of employed people in January fell by 11,500, pushing the nation's unemployment rate up from 3.5% to 3.7%.  This is second consecutive month that the number of employed fell.  It remains to be seen if the fall is due to seasonal fluctuation, as the head of labour statistics at the ABS has stated, or the result of increasing interest rates from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). 

Seasonal factors to affect January data include more people than usual taking holidays and a higher number of people than usual waiting to start a job.  How these two factors affect the employment statistics will be seen when February results are published (expected mid-March).   However, the RBA rate hikes could finally be affecting the employment market - in line with the contraction of property prices and home building that we have already witnessed nationwide.

The RBA are forecasting the unemployment rate to increase to 4.25% by the end of this year and 4.5% by mid-2024.   In real numbers this equates to approximately another 120,000 people joining the national unemployment queue. 

Here in Central Queensland, we continue to see extremely high demand to fill vacancies across all industries, with what I can only describe as a ‘scramble to secure staff’ among local employers.  A significant volume of the available jobs in Central Queensland will need to be filled by people from outside the region.  Whilst the national increases in unemployment are concerning for those impacted, the opportunity for local businesses and industry to attract desperately needed skills to the region could come from this increase in the national pool of unemployed workers.

There is speculation too, that Fortescue Metals Group may be cutting up to 1,500 jobs.  The decision could impact the clean energy subsidiary, Fortescue Future Industries, who are currently building their hydrogen manufacturing facility in Gladstone.  The job loses are likely to be in the Pilbara region mining operations sector and partly as a result of a major project ending, which could potentially be an opportunity for Central Queensland to entice skilled workers to our region.

At Jobs In Central Queensland we continue to showcase the benefits of living in our region to fulfill the abundant career opportunities which are available.  This includes promoting our Even Better Living video featuring Gorden Tallis. 

The forthcoming air routes from CQ direct to Melbourne are just another selling point we are able add to a long list that makes our region a very attractive employment prospect.  The first flight from Gladstone is due to start on 11th May with tickets available for less than $100 each way.    

We do, however, face practical obstacles to securing workers, with local infrastructure barely able to support demand.  Those businesses and industries that can offer short-term accommodation and on-going childcare to migrating workers have a distinct advantage in securing the people they desperately need.

Tim O’Brien

Director and Business Talent Scout

Jobs In Central Queensland

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