Brighter outlook propels Far North
THE Far North's economy has had a great start to the year, the latest CairnsWatchreport says.Report author Rick Carr of Herron Todd White said the economic recovery "gained further momentum over the last month with most key indicators showing accelerated improvement".
"All is not yet rosy in the economy, but the progress made has been significant," he said.
Mr Carr said there had been gains in the key areas of employment, airport passenger numbers and building approvals.
He said the number of people in jobs rose by 4900 in December to a record high of 145,200.
"This continued the strong run of employment growth that took place during 2012," Mr Carr said.
Passenger numbers through Cairns Airport's domestic terminal "continues to achieve record highs" while they were also rising at the international terminal boosted by new services from China, he said.
Mr Carr said average tourist accommodation occupancy continued to rise during the latest quarter to reach 66.7 per cent in September 2012 compared with 63.1 per cent in September 2011 and average room rates improved to about $125 per night, and $155 at Port Douglas.
"Building approval numbers have recovered significantly during 2012, with a 38.6 per cent increase in the number of houses approved from January to November 2012 compared to the same period of 2011," he said.
Cairns Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Deb Hancock said Cairns was on course for a successful 2013.
"The growth of 4900 jobs since November shows that general business confidence is growing," she said. "Business owners should look to the future with confidence given that there are a number of positive economic indicators all aligning to support a positive trajectory for 2013."
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland Far Northern chairman Brett Moller said the report allowed the business community to be "cautiously optimistic".
"While recent council and State Government announcements and commitments to reboot our economy are very welcomed we need investment from the private sector to sustain our economy and the environment to encourage that investment is slowly returning."
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