Tough work ahead for Gippsland’s unemployed

Gippsland’s unemployment rate has continued to trend above state and national averages, with January figures bringing the 12-month average to 7.08 per cent.

According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday, the region’s monthly jobless rate in January hit 7.5 per cent, 4.2 per cent of which were women.

Due to month-to-month statistical volatility over the past year (peaking at 10.8 per cent in January 2014 and dropping as low as 4.7 per cent in June 2014), a longer term average paints a more accurate picture.

At the state level, the monthly unemployment rate hit 7.1 per cent, taking the 12-month average to 6.6 per cent.

However the Gippsland average is likely to mask the extent of unemployment in Latrobe Valley’s major towns, with quarterly data released by the Department of Employment traditionally putting Morwell, Moe and Churchill at higher jobless rates.

The department’s Small Area Labour Market figures for the September 2014 quarter put Latrobe City local government area’s jobless rate at 7.3 per cent, with the highest rates seen in Morwell and Moe (12.7 and 10.2 per cent respectively).

December quarter job figures are expected to be released in the next month.

Thursday’s regional figures come a week after the national monthly unemployment rate hit its highest level in 13 years, increasing to 6.4 per cent in January.

National youth figures continued to cause concern, with the jobless rate among 15 to 24 years olds jumping from 13.1 to 14.2 per cent.

The level of 15 to 19 year olds out of work jumped to 20.3 per cent, its highest rate since 1998.