Unemployment down but tough job market

JOB-HUNTER Trisha Osborne has applied for hundreds of jobs since she returned to Bundaberg in June - but despite fewer people signing up for unemployment benefits, competiton is still fierce.

“I've been going for every kind of job out there,” Ms Osborne said.

“Employees aren't getting back to me, and if I call them to ask why, they say they just had too many applicants.”

An administration officer with 20 years experience, Ms Osborne is not on Centrelink payments and is living off her rapidly-shrinking savings.

During her hunt for work, she has heard of positions that received 500 applicants - so she knows she is not alone in her plight.

While the latest unemployment figures show that 218 fewer people were on the dole queue in August compared to July this year, nearly 3000 jobseekers were still signed up for New Start and Youth Allowance - competing for jobs that seemed fewer and further in between.

“There has been a real decline in the number of jobs available on our noticeboards and in the classifieds ads,” the Salvation Army's Tom Quinn Centre assistant manager Bronwyn Rademaker said.

She said there was still high demand for the centre's services, but it was increasingly difficuly to find suitable positions.

“Two months ago, I could say (to a client) 'here's a job, let's help you apply for it', but now I can't even say that because there's not many jobs out there,” Ms Rademaker said.

Federal Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said the figures showed Bundaberg is not out of the woods when it came to unemployment.

“While I would like to think the recent trend of ballooning Centrelink numbers is over, I expect it will be a case of 'wait and see',” Mr Neville said.

He said the last time Bundaberg's Centrelink lines stretched to almost 3000 people was in May 2005.

“It goes to show that whittling down the number of local welfare recipients takes a long time, while increases can escalate very rapidly,” he said.

“The fact remains that Bundaberg has experienced an almost 30% increase in its dole queues in less than two years - a very clear sign that poor economic decisions made in Canberra have impacted on our local businesses and industry.”

Unemployment figures Bundaberg's August jobseeker figures since 1999: 1999 - 4389; 2000 - 3946; 2001 - 3671; 2002 - 3551; 2003 - 3344; 2004 - 2865; 2005 - 2802; 2006 - 2564; 2007 - 2514; 2008 - 2319; 2009 - 2987

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