Economic report a good sign for region
IT HAS been a stellar year for Bundaberg's economy with economic growth hitting double digits.
The good news was relayed to Bundaberg's business community at the Bundy 4 Breakfast at the Brother's Club yesterday morning.
Lawrence Consulting economist Reuben Lawrence delivered the regional report card in front of a more than 300-strong audience.
Bundaberg got an A+ when it came to economic growth with a 13 per cent lift in the 2016-17 financial year driven by an increase in jobs, a boost in productivity, stable population growth (up 0.2 per cent), falling unemployment, above average turnover for local business and $1.3 billion in exports.
The jump in economic growth was more than five times Bundaberg's five-year average of 2.4 per cent, outstripping both our southern and northern neighbours.
Mr Lawrence said in the 10-plus years he had been collecting economic data on the Bundaberg region the number was by far the largest he had seen.
Gross regional product came in at just over $4.6 billion, or $47,865 per capita.
"What this represents is substantial growth, 13 per cent," Mr Lawrence said.
"It is much larger than the Queensland average of 1.5 per cent and is driving the growth of the Wide Bay."
Mr Lawrence said the Bundaberg region's diverse economy was outstripping the Fraser Coast in terms of economic growth and he saw that continuing into the future.
Productivity was the other A on the region's report card.
The "efficiency index" measures dollars generated per hour of work in the region, and that number also outstripped the Fraser Coast and Gladstone.
Mr Lawrence said the $63.94 an hour figure represented a 10.6 per cent increase in productivity and showed the region's business owners were working harder and smarter than ever before.
"This is the first time this number has ever come close to matching Queensland," Mr Lawrence said.
"This is a really positive sign.
"It is a sign of change ... a sign the industry is changing and becoming smarter ... more productive and embracing innovation."
While the region's unemployment rate of 8.7 per cent scored a C- on the report card, the number of employed people increased by 0.5 per cent in Bundaberg.
It continued a five-year downward trend in unemployment.
More than 2500 people have moved to Bundaberg in the last five years, bringing the population to 95,000.
Mr Lawrence said population growth was 0.2 per cent.
"It's nothing to write home about but it is stable."