THIS MONTH, as part of their youth employment campaign, the Brotherhood of St Laurence has published a report ‘Smashing the avocado debate’, that looks at Australia’s youth unemployment hotspots. As at December 2018, the national youth unemployment rate is 11.2%, more than double the overall Australian unemployment rate of 5%.
Young people lacking in experience, training opportunities or higher educational qualifications are at significant risk of being left out of the work force altogether. Despite 28 years of continuous economic growth, youth hotspots across the country have unemployment figures ranging from 14.3% to 25.7%, with significantly more unemployment in regional than urban areas.
Three of the top 20 hotspots are in Tasmania — South East (17.8%), Hobart (16.9 %) and West and North East, including Meander Valley, (15.0%). The statistics quoted in the report are taken from the Department of Jobs and Small Business Labour Market Information Portal. But the ABS definition of unemployment is quite narrow.
Falling outside the narrow terms of reference, another group of people, who are not working and want to work are classed as ‘marginally attached’ to the work force. The report stresses that successful solutions to unemployment need strong local networks. The Brotherhood and other not-for-profits are working to develop innovative regional approaches to job creation for young people.