UNEMPLOYED: Young jobseekers in our region face a hard time to find work.
UNEMPLOYED: Young jobseekers in our region face a hard time to find work. Chris Ison

Ipswich star performer on employment front

UNEMPLOYMENT is down and jobs are up in Ipswich…and in a big way.

That is the message coming through loud and clear after the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the labour force figures for 2015.

The Ipswich unemployment rate for 2015 dropped from 9% to 6.7%. That was the biggest percentage drop of all ABS statistical regions in the state. An extra 5800 jobs were created in 2015 in Ipswich, a rise of 4.1%.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale hailed the city as "the jobs capital of Queensland" and said the figures were a vindication of council's focus on economic development and employment.

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard pointed to the policies implemented by Labor since it was elected early last year.

She highlighted the $45 million payroll tax rebate announced at the budget in July as pivotal "with 94 Ipswich businesses having claimed $254,000 in rebates after putting on apprentices and trainees in the last six months".

"That's almost 100 local businesses now confident enough to hire trainees and help our young people into the workforce, and we're working to do more," she said.

Ms Howard said the figures for Ipswich were encouraging.

"It says that economic growth is improving, when businesses are employing more people and these jobs are being created," she said.

"There is a sense of optimism about the future."

Business and consumer confidence are both up in Queensland overall.

Cr Pisasale said he wanted to "thank everybody for believing in our vision".

"Council is driving this because we are all about jobs, jobs, jobs," he said.

"We are about creating jobs for young people, which is why the average age in the city is 32. Young people are coming home because we are creating jobs for them.

"Our youth unemployment has dropped from 18% to 12%, one of the biggest drops in the country, but we have a long way to go.

"We have to concentrate on that because the number of youth suicides shows that we are letting our young people down.

"The number of traineeships and apprenticeships that were around when I left school are just not there."

Ipswich planning boss Cr Paul Tully said the positive labour force figures were significant.

"When you go back 20 years Ipswich historically had high unemployment rates so this is good news for the city and the western corridor," he said.

"We are due to hit 200,000 residents next year and it will continue to boost our economy significantly and help development in the western corridor."