GRAFTON and Coffs Harbour have jointly featured on an unenviable list of regions with the highest jobless rates in 2017, a new report has identified.
The unemployment rate rose to 8.7 per cent in the Coffs Clarence last year, our region trailing only the outback in Queensland (12.8%), Melbourne West (9%) and Wide Bay (9%) in the unemployment stakes, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.
In its latest report, CommSec has looked at factors behind rising regional unemployment.
In a study of local unemployment statistics, Commsec senior economist Ryan Felsman said statistics showed an improvement in job offerings towards the end of the year in the Coffs Clarence.
"The average unemployment rate in Coffs Harbour-Grafton on the NSW Mid-North Coast deteriorated to 8.7 per cent over 2017," Mr Felsman said.
"Pleasingly, the actual unemployment rate fell to 6.1 per cent by year-end.
"Construction jobs have increased, underpinned by the $3.3 billion Pacific Highway upgrade between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.
"A further 2970 workers are expected to be employed on the $4.36 billion Woolgoolga-to- Ballina highway upgrade."
On the national front, Aussies are experiencing a jobs boom with the strongest employment growth recorded in 12 and a half years.
"The jobs boom continued in December with Aussies enjoying the equal longest stretch of consecutive monthly employment gains," Mr Felsman said.
"One more monthly increase in early 2018 will break the survey record going back to 1978. More jobs are being created and fewer people are unemployed.
However, employment outcomes are uneven across regional and metropolitan areas of the country."
Nationally, the closure of manufacturing plants have displaced factory workers in some regions with 84,000 jobs lost in the 12 months to November, according to the Bureau of Statistics.
Around three-quarters of the new jobs added over the past year are full-time, in the tourism, healthcare, retail, education and construction industries.