Some good job news for Valley
UNEMPLOYMENT in the Clarence Valley has been on the improve for the three and a half years to March 2012, when the Valley's rate was 6.5%.
In September 2008, the rate across the Valley was 7.6% - 8.3% on the coast, 7.4% in Grafton and 7.2% in the remainder of the Valley.
The detailed figures, from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, (DEEWR) show 1508 people were unemployed in the Valley in March - 645 of them in the Grafton area (6.4% of the Grafton workforce), 645 of them on the coast (8.1%) and 167 in the remaining areas of the Valley (6.2%).
Statistics after March are not yet available but The Daily Examiner calculated that adding 108 jobs to the dole queue from the jail downgrade in July would have increased the unemployment rate to 6.96% roughly.
This compares with 5.2% for NSW and 5.1% for Australia in March.
The figures were released yesterday by Member for Page Janelle Saffin who had sourced them for Professor Bill Mitchell who will speak at the Future of the Clarence Valley Forum tomorrow night from 6.30pm at the Grafton District Services Club.
Professor Mitchell is from the economics faculty at the University of Newcastle and is an expert in labour markets and macro economics.
He will discuss ways for the region to grow economically with an "evidence-based approach".
The event is organised by the Clarence Valley Community of Unions and sponsored by DEX and 2GF/FM104.7.
Ms Saffin said the figures were available for anyone who was trying to help rebuild the community following recent economic blows.
The figures showed the Valley had a labour force of 22,715 in March which, though an improvement on previous years, was still low by comparison with the rest of the nation.
DEEWR local employment co-ordinator for the North Coast Terry Watson said the labour force participation rate across the region was 53% compared with the national average of 64%.
"It's the second lowest participation rate in the country," he said, adding that this was the area's biggest employment issue.
The labour force participation rate is the percentage of working age people who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work.
- Number of businesses - 1327
- Majority of businesses are small (94.6%) - as they employ fewer than 20 people
- Largest industries are construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing and retail trade
- There was a slight increase in the number of businesses between 2009 and 2011 (0.2%)
- The majority of businesses have a turnover of less than $500,000 (79%)