Tourism contributes to jobs boost in Cairns
MORE than 13,000 people in the Far North have found work since March.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics labour rate figures released yesterday, the number of people in work is 140,700, up from 127,400 six months ago.
Herron Todd White research director Rick Carr said the number of people employed had steadily grown since March.
"Everybody put on staff, particularly tourism businesses, as the season improved and with confidence in the future," he said.
The unemployment rate last month was 9.3 per cent, with 14,400 people currently out of work compared with 14,800 last month and 13,300 in March.
Mr Carr said the arrival of the direct flights from China had given businesses even more confidence.
"People are gradually gearing up for more business as they anticipate the increase in the number of tourists," Mr Carr said.
The unemployment rate has dropped slightly and is currently sitting at 9.3 per cent, a small improvement on the September figure of 9.7 per cent.
Economist Bill Cummings said from December 2010 to May this year the total workforce number fell, the number of employed decreased and the number of unemployed stabilised.
"Since then the number employed has trended up strongly. Unemployed also trended up, resulting in total workforce trending up very strongly.
"These figures tend to indicate that with economic prospects looking more positive people are re-entering the workforce."
Mr Cummings said tourism was "a strong contributor" to the improving financial situation of the region.
"I believe though it's across the board with more optimism generally in the economy."
He said housing approvals were on the rise after reaching the bottom late last year.
"The Cairns Regional Council figures last month show they are up. They are still not brilliant though."
Cairns-based Senator Jan McLucas said since January the unemployment rate had continued to bounce around 9 and 10 per cent, reaching a high of 10.3 per cent and a low of 8.5 per cent.
According to the latest CairnsWatch report, rental vacancy rates are at their lowest levels since March 2008, with an overall market vacancy rate sitting at 2.4 per cent.
"To continue this momentum it is critical our region speaks with a united voice to give people the confidence they are looking for to do business here, to invest here, or to move into a new home and establish their lives here," Senator McLucas said.
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