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  • Crispin Till

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    Cairns economy 'powering ahead' as jobless rate falls

    A local economist says the Cairns economy is “powering ahead” with the trend unemployment rate falling to 5.3 per cent in June, the lowest level seen in almost a decade.

    Analysis of the latest ABS figures by economist Pete Faulkner at Conus shows the trend unemployment rate in Cairns is at its lowest level since September 2008 and well below the state average of 6.3 per cent.

    Trend jobs have increased by 1,300 since May and are up by 12,700 for the year. Of those jobs, 7,800 were full-time positions with the trend participation rate increasing to 63, its highest level since October 2013.

    Mr Faulkner said the latest figures and strongly positive results for the year means “there is no doubt that the recovery remains in place”.

    Cairns is now the third fastest growing region for employment growth outside of Greater Brisbane.

    There is also good news in Townsville with trend unemployment at 7.5 per cent, down from 7.8 per cent in May.

    In the past year, Townsville has added 13,400 new jobs, with 10,000 being full-time.

    Mr Faulkner said there was a significant recovery in the labour market in the past year in Cairns and Townsville and the latest unemployment figures were good news for regional Queensland as a whole.

    “The regions generally have done better with the trend unemployment rate in the rest of Queensland falling to 6 per cent, while Greater Brisbane has risen to 6.7 per cent,” he said.

    “For the year, the rest of Queensland has added 31,700 new jobs (22,300 full-time) while Greater Brisbane has added 11,700 new jobs (8,200 full-time).”

    However, Cairns' youth unemployment levels remain stubbornly high and is up slightly to 12.6 per cent in June with an extra 3,400 youth jobs in the past year. Youth unemployment in Townsville dipped to 18.4 per cent.

    The full Conus Trend data for unemployment in Queensland is available for download here.