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Regional Queensland 'roaring ahead' in tourism and jobs


The economies of regional Queensland are starting to fire up with unemployment consistently better than Brisbane and tourism rebounding strongly.

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According to ANZ, regional economies throughtout Australia were doing well and “held up better than their metro counterparts through the pandemic’’, with activity in regional areas recovering more quickly than outbreak-prone and tourism-exposed capital cities.

“Regional housing outperformed capital cities in both price growth and building approvals growth. ANZ-observed spending showed a clear gap between city and regional spending which has persisted since May 2020,’’ ANZ said.

According to economist Pete Faulkner from Conus Consultancy monthly expenditure data for domestic tourism showed regional Queensland “roaring ahead’’.

He said the data showed the regions were down just 12 per cent from a year ago and up 79 per cent since March.

Brisbane and the Gold Coast were down 40 per cent year-onyear and up 28 per cent since March. Australia ws down 34 per cent year-on-year and up just 12 per cent since March.

The ANZ report said that in Queensland, the labour market improved more than any other state in the final quarter, “but other indicators were less impressive’’.

According to the Conus-CBC Staff Selection data, regional employment was showing strong signs and many regional centres were performing better than Brisbane.

Cairns’ unemployment was 5.5 per cent but Faulkner said this was not all good news because the tourist city was not showing employment growth. The reasonably strong unemployment level was because people had left the labour market.

“Another sign of the struggle that some are having in the Cairns labour market is the fact that the median time looking for a job has ballooned out to 35 weeks and is now the third highest in the State behind the Outback and Wide Bay,’’ Faulkner said.

“A year ago this measure stood at just 6 weeks in Cairns but has increased very sharply since the end of JobKeeper 1.0 at the end of September.‘’

Greater Brisbane’s unemployment was 6.6 per cent in January, a big increase on the 5.6 per cent a year ago.

Some of the best regional unemployment figures were Toowoomba with 2.5 per cent in January, down from 7.1 per cent a year ago. The Darling Downs and Maranoa has also performed well with the current unemployment at 4.1 per cent compared with 4.4 per cent a year ago.

Townsville is sitting at 5.4 per cent a big improvement on the 7.5 per cent last year.

Mackay has remained largely unchanged on 4.8 per cent.

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