Unemployment figures drop

GIPPSLAND’S unemployment rate defied the odds to drop to a rate lower than the state average in May.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data released recently showed Gippsland’s total unemployment rate had dropped from 5.5 per cent in April down to five per cent in May, half a per cent lower than Victoria’s 5.5 per cent jobless rate.

The Gippsland rate is also lower than the national average which, as of May, stood at 5.1 per cent.

The region-wide data showed Gippsland’s rate was now at its lowest level since December last year.

The region recorded an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent in April, 6.5 per cent in March, 5.9 per cent in February and 5.1 per cent in January.

ABS data showed 5.5 per cent of Gippsland’s males and 4.5 per cent of its females were unemployed.

Though the figures appear encouraging, small area labour market figures for some of the Valley’s towns tell a different story.

The most recent ‘small area’ figures from the Federal Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations are from December 2011 and showed Morwell’s unemployment rate at 8.4 per cent and Moe’s at 7.3 per cent while Traralgon’s was significantly below the state average at 4.2 per cent.

March 2012 quarter figures for towns are still not available but a DEEWR spokesperson said they would be released soon.