New stats reveal Gympie jobs were drying up before COVID hit
THE COVID-19 wrecking ball did serious damage to the economy, but new figures suggest Gympie’s unemployment rate was spluttering before the country was forced to shut down.
The latest regional figures from the ABS reveal the region’s unemployment hit 8.2 per cent in the March 2020 quarter, the highest level since June 2018.
It was the second consecutive unemployment spike for the region, following a rise from 6.7 per cent last September to 7.1 per cent in December.
An ABS spokeswoman confirmed the data was collected before the pandemic caused shutdowns across Australia.
However she urged caution with interpreting the data due to the “volatility” of small market samples.
“A rise in the March quarter data for small market areas such as Gympie may not actually mean that another issue was at play,” she said.
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However, this unemployment hiccup was not restricted to Gympie.
Other parts of the Wide Bay also reported a jump in jobless rates.
On the Fraser Coast, unemployment jumped from 8.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent; in Bundaberg it went from 7.6 per cent to 8.9 per cent and in the South Burnett, jobless numbers jumped from 8.7 per cent to 10.3 per cent.
Noosa was the lone Wide Bay region to avoid the jump.
The spike also sits at odds with March 2020 data for Queensland (which showed jobless figures dropped from 6 per cent to 5.7 per cent), regional Queensland (which showed a drop from 6.2 per cent to 6.1 per cent) and Australia (steady at 5.2 per cent).
The figures also showed unemployment is areas outside the Wide Bay, including the Sunshine Coast, Gladstone and Rockhampton, all improved in the three months from December 2019 to March 2020.