Region's job rate holding steady

THE unemployment rate in Warwick is the same as it was in June last year, but is still slightly sitting above the state average.

Former Southern Downs economic development officer and current Mission Employment business manager John Randall said in his opinion this was not acceptable.

Queensland's average unemployment rate is 5.5% and in June this year Warwick's was just higher at 5.9% according to figures released by the Department of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

"With higher unemployment rates and a rapidly growing aging population, Warwick will soon not have enough ratepayers who can afford the increasing cost of running a small town," Mr Randall said.

"Warwick needs to expand its employment base.

"We need business and industry which will employ workers at average salaries of $60-$70K, rather than retail and cafe workers at $35-40K."

Busy At Work regional manger Alison Welkes said there had not been an increase in the number of people out looking for work.

"We work closely with employment agencies in Warwick - anecdotally we don't feel there is any real difference in people looking for work," she said.

Ms Welkes said there were two popular industries in Warwick at the moment.

"Transport and logistics is popular, as is meat and meat processing as it's very important to the local economy," she said.

"We recently signed up approximately 140 trainees in this trade within the Warwick region over the last few months."

Mr Randall also said these were among the biggest employers, with John Dee employing 450 people, Fraser's 120 and Wickham's Transport 180.

He said in his personal opinion most business were downsizing.

"New employment opportunities such as the Coffee Club are normally only replacing jobs lost elsewhere due to other cafes closing," he said.

"Warwick's employment opportunities are mainly within the retail and services sector and these are the businesses which are suffering the most."

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