New jobless stats show real story of underemployment

EDITORIAL: When there is pressure on the bottom line - and many Fraser Coast businesses know that pressure well - something has got to give.

Jobs might be shed, or as several Fraser Coast businesses have done in the past year, staff might be asked to reduce hours.

Better that than have the business go under completely.

Traditional unemployment figures don't account for that underemployment.

People working part-time and looking for full-time work, or looking for more hours to make ends meet, aren't technically unemployed and so (conveniently for governments) they aren't measured in unemployment figures.

Work one hour a week? Congratulations, you're not unemployed.

But on Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics released underemployment statistics, figures including people looking for a job or looking for more hours.

Chronicle readers, in a region with one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation, won't be surprised to learn that the new statistics show unemployment to be twice as bad as the official figures.

Paul Neville, Federal member for Hinkler, said underemployment in Wide Bay was likely to be up to 2% worse than the state average.

Bleak indeed.

We join Fraser Coast TESS chief executive officer Lance Stone in calling for community leaders and all levels of government to fight this epidemic.



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