Unemployment rate increases

AS a sign of the financial times, the latest unemployment figures released just before Christmas were no cause for celebration.

In the figures for Small Area Markets the unemployment rate had increased by an average of 0.3 per cent across all local government areas in the Cowper electorate during the September quarter.

Bellingen, Kempsey, parts of Coffs Harbour and the Clarence region all showed this increase, with both Bellingen and Coffs Harbour areas rising to 7.2 per cent.

Unemployment remained highest in Nambucca, which had a 0.1 per cent increase to 10.1 per cent.

The member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said the figures most likely reflected the challenging times being experienced by small business.

“It’s no secret that small businesses on the North Coast have had a challenging year,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“There is a lot of uncertainty and that is probably why we have seen this rise in the September quarter.

“When assessing these figures, the most important factor is the trend – I will be watching the December quarter figures with interest to see if unemployment continues to rise.”

Mr Hartsuyker said household budgets were currently being squeezed and Australians were increasingly nervous about the future.

“In the end that flows through to consumer spending and has a knock-on effect to small business and jobs.”

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