Parkes electorate unemployment rate falls to 3.8 per cent

Parkes MP Mark Coulton welcomes new data showing a fall in the electorate's unemployment rate. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Parkes MP Mark Coulton welcomes new data showing a fall in the electorate's unemployment rate. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

The federal electorate of Parkes has recorded the third-highest fall in unemployment rates across the nation in the past year, updated data shows.

Its unemployment rate indicates a fall of 2.4 per cent to 3.8 per cent in the 12 months to the December quarter, Department of Jobs and Small Business figures show.

In a region that has an economy that’s sparking up, Dubbo has been dubbed a “star performer”.

Parkes MP Mark Coulton said the figures indicated the strength of the economy in the electorate and were a reflection of national employment trends.

He told media gathered at his Dubbo office the “great result” was “a sign of the confidence” businesses held.

He said the number of jobs created in the past year were before big projects in the region even started up, noting the possibility of mines at Toongi and Fifield.

“So there’s a lot in the pipeline but I think this is a reflection of the confidence that people have got in the economy,” Mr Coulton said.

“I think also the low interest rates that have been there for a while, have enabled businesses to expand and that’s led to more employment as well.”

Within the electorate there was a standout.

“I think the star performer probably in all of this is Dubbo,” Mr Coulton said.

“The unemployment rate at Dubbo is 2.2 per cent, which is incredibly low.

“And so I think this is a reflection of confidence right across the district.”

The MP who’s recently been elevated to the role of assistant minister for trade, tourism and investment, identified two issues for the electorate.

“One is skills shortage and we’ve still got, probably find a lot of those people who are unemployed are still some of the younger people,” he said.

“So we’ve still got more to do, but I think it’s important we mark this milestone, that we have had this big drop.”

He reported his office dealt with businesses trying to get specialised skilled workers, in roles including diesel mechanics, fitters and turners, sheet metal workers and aged care workers.

“There’s great opportunities in all those industries that are right through most of my country towns for employment,” he said.

“...My great wish is that all these opportunities that are out here are filled by local people and we don’t have to rely so much on seasonal workers.”

Nationally there has been record employment growth, 403,100 jobs, he said.