Mayor responds to Clarence Valley jobless figures

UNEMPLOYMENT figures showing the Clarence Valley jobless rate at its lowest since 2011 is a sign of increased confidence in the regions says Mayor Richie Williamson.

The latest economic report card produced bi-annually by the Clarence Valley Council by independent analysts Lawrence Consulting, shows the unemployment rate for the region fell annually by 1.1 percentage points to 6.5% in the March Quarter 2016, the lowest since December Quarter 2011.

Cr Williamson said the figures from the latest Economic Monitor were solid and showed increasing confidence in the region and its future.

"The number of employed continues to increase also with an additional 303 persons or 1.4% annually," he said.

"This shows the Clarence economy continues to be on the right track and the resilience of the local labour market."

Further highlights include the substantial growth in dwelling approvals (up 65.1% to 208), particularly non-residential approvals (up 472.9% to $30.7 million) over the year to the March quarter 2016.

Strong real estate figures were also noted in the monitor with increases in the median dwelling prices (8.6% to $330,000) and a gross rental yield (4.7%) significantly higher than the averages for Greater Sydney (3.3%) and New South Wales (3.7%).

Cr Williamson said the monitor still highlighted some challenges.

"We are embracing these challenges as a region, but the signs for the Clarence are encouraging," he said.

On the business front, the estimated total turnover of all local industry in the Clarence Valley was $1.3billion in 2014/15, which represented an annual increase of 4.8%, whilst the average turnover of all businesses was approximately $342,000 (up 6.9%).

The increase in turnover was achieved despite a 2% decrease in the number of businesses trading in the region in 2015.

The Economic Monitor is on the council website.

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