The number of registered business has grown by more than 100 over the past year, but one expert says this has likely had little impact on employment in the region.
The number of registered business has grown by more than 100 over the past year, but one expert says this has likely had little impact on employment in the region.

Cautious optimism as Gympie business numbers surge

A continued upswing in new business registrations in the Gympie region might look good on the surface, but Wide Bay development expert Scott Rowe is urging caution about what is really going on.

In the past year, the number of businesses in the region has grown by 113, despite the COVID restrictions and economic ramifications of border closures and lockdowns.

The number of registered businesses in the Gympie region is at its highest in more than five years.
The number of registered businesses in the Gympie region is at its highest in more than five years.

This was driven by 355 new registrations in the region from September 2019 to September 2020, offset by 242 cancellations.

The 4351 registered businesses in the region is 6 per cent higher than the number in the region in September 2015.

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Wide Bay Director of Regional Development Scott Rowe said the increase was good news but it “doesn’t necessarily correspond to employment and increased economic activity” and “it may reflect changes in workforce dynamics”.

Wide Bay Director of Regional Development Scott Rowe
Wide Bay Director of Regional Development Scott Rowe

Mr Rowe said more than 700 jobs had been lost in the region by the September 2020 quarter compared to 12 months earlier “so the increase in ABNs has not resulted in increased employment”.

Industries hit hard by COVID can expect a boost this year from construction activity, which will flow on to accommodation and hospitality businesses in the region, he said.

A big part of this will be from contract workers employed on construction of the $1 billion Gympie Bypass.

Last August, the Gympie region was identified as one which could potentially be at more serious risk of economic damage from the pandemic due to the nature of its dominant industries.

Demographics Group director of research Simone Kuestenmacher said then that only six of Australia’s 19 industries had created new jobs since February: utilities, agriculture, public admin, finance, real estate, and wholesale trade. Only 15 per cent of all Gympie jobs belong to these industries.

The Australian average is 19 per cent.