Unemployment rate drops in Tasmania

We are often asked about employment opportunities when people are considering a move to Tasmania. The state has had a higher than average unemployment rate for a while and it can be difficult to find work, particularly outside the main cities.

However, the employment figures released last week show that Tasmania is now close to the national average and also has gone against the national trend, as our unemployment rate has reduced in the most recent period.

This story from The Mercury.

Tassie’s unemployment rate dops to lowest level in more than three years

Tasmania’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in more than three years on the back of strong tourism, outstanding construction numbers, robust retail and sustained business confidence.

The January unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent, a full percentage drop on the same period last year and in defiance of a national 0.3 per cent climb to a 12½-year high of 6.4 per cent, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein hailed the result, saying the state was now outperforming South Australia (6.9 per cent), matching Victoria and closing the gap on the national average.

“Since the election nearly 7000 jobs have been created and the unemployment queue has shrunk by 10 per cent,’’ Mr Gutwein said.

The number of unemployed people fell 300 to 17,100 and the number of employed people increased 500 to 241,600.

Mr Gutwein said the drop in unemployment was a clear sign of an economic recovery in Tasmania.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake said the fall in the Australian dollar was benefiting Tasmania more than other states. He said there also had been an upturn in business confidence since the March 2014 state election.

“Tasmania derived little benefit from the mining boom which in turn pushed up the dollar and hurt agriculture, manufacturing and tourism,’’ he said.

‘There clearly has been a very significant lift in confidence since the change of government and it has been sustained because, unlike the Federal Government, it has not trashed it.’’

He said jobs were coming from the labour-intensive housing and tourism sectors.

Mr Eslake said employment was close to the levels of 2008 before the state was hit by the collapse of the forest industry and manufacturing.

Mr Gutwein said the participation rate was the highest it had been in years.

“That means that increasingly more people now have the confidence to go out and look for work in our growing economy,’’ he said

Tasmanian Senator and Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the national figures were disappointing.

“However, they follow a per­iod of strong job creation in 2014 when 200,000 new jobs were created — more than ­triple the number of jobs created in 2013,’’ he said.

At 16.1 per cent, youth unemployment is the highest since 1998.

Labor Employment and Workplace Relations spokesman Brendan O’ Connor said 100,000 more people had joined the national unemployment queue since the 2013 election.

Commsec chief economist Craig James said the figures indicated businesses nationwide had become cautious about taking on staff.

“In the latest month, part-time workers rose, full-time jobs fell and hours worked lifted to seven-month highs,’’ he said.

“So businesses are working existing staff more intensively and taking on part-timers to fill gaps. But with the focus on efficiency and productivity, businesses are reluctant to take on full-time staff.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the rising unemployment rate demonstrated the need for a reform of penalty rates and unfair dismissal rules.


We have previously written about some ways to look for work when you move to a new place. 

Has the thought of finding a new job put you off making the move to Tasmania?

How have you gone about finding work when you have made the move?