Economist Colin Dwyer says the outlook for jobs is bright in Townsville
Economist Colin Dwyer says the outlook for jobs is bright in Townsville

How major projects added 9300 jobs

ABOUT 9300 people have been added to the labour force in Townsville over the past 12 months but the jobless rate remains stubbornly high at 9.1 per cent, a report says.

According to the TP Human Capital workforce report, the reason for this mixed result is probably due to population increase and more people returning to the labour market.

"Townsville workforce performance in the year to June 2018 has softened," the report says. "In the past year Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates 9300 extra jobs have been created.

"While this is an improving trend, the annualised unemployment rate has risen to 9.1 per cent and continues to be too high."

The ABS released regional labour force data this week showing the number of people employed in the Townsville region increased from 98,800 in June last year to 108,100 for the same month this year.

Major projects such as the solar farms at the Sun Metals zinc refinery in Stuart and Ross River project in Kelso, construction of the North Queensland Stadium and development of a new Coles supermarket at Fairfield Central shopping centre have created hundreds of jobs.

Meanwhile, the number of people registered as unemployed rose from 10,600 to 10,800 and the jobless rate, while trending lower, is up from 8.3 per cent since February.

TP Human Capital report author Colin Dwyer said more people were being encouraged to return to the labour market or were being attracted to the city to obtain work.

This had likely caused an upturn in the unemployment rate, he said. While Mr Dwyer described trends in the labour market as steady, he said there were reasons to be confident about the immediate outlook.

More major projects were ramping up and the Townsville City Council and State Government had allocated increased spending.

Mr Dwyer said the council had announced more than $430 million in infrastructure spending for the coming year - twice the level of Cairns or Mackay councils.

He said the State Government was pumping $736 million into the local economy investment in 2018-19 - 2.7 per cent above the region's per capita share.

Meanwhile, the $515 million Haughton flood plain highway upgrade is due to start later this year or early next year and the $52 million Mater Hospital redevelopment has just begun.

"The Townsville region has been and is likely to remain a job creation region especially in the mining and major construction project sectors," Mr Dwyer said.