Employment growth stalls

Employment growth in the Latrobe Valley and surrounding areas has stalled and full time positions are on the decline, according to a Federal Government survey of the region’s employers released today.

The ‘Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences’ from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations interviewed 377 employers across the region about their recent recruitment experiences, and found the average number of applicants per local job vacancy was higher than all other regions surveyed.

The Latrobe Valley Employment Service Area, which includes the Latrobe City, Baw Baw, Wellington, and South Gippsland shires, had an average of 9.8 applicants per vacancy over the 12-month period leading up to June, compared to 7.9 in other regions.

The report also found the proportion of Latrobe Valley ESA employers’ most recent vacancies remaining unfilled, at 1.6 per cent, was substantially smaller than that of all other regions, at 8.3 per cent.

“Employers were also pessimistic about the next 12 months, which suggests that local labour market conditions are unlikely to improve to any great extent in the near term,” the report stated.

A larger proportion of employers expected their business to face challenges in the 12 months following the survey (70 per cent) – with 52 per cent reporting concern over reduced levels of business activity – when compared with all regions surveyed (58 per cent).

In more localised figures,17 per cent of males in Latrobe City aged between 20 and 24 were neither working nor studying, compared to 10 per cent for Victoria, while 1600 families with children under the age of 15 were jobless.

The report found 87 per cent of Latrobe City residents work within the local government jurisdiction, compared to Baw Baw, where only 69 per cent of residents worked locally.

Seven per cent of employed Latrobe City residents worked in the electricity, gas, water and waste services industries, which was “significantly higher” than Victoria and Australia (both one per cent).