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Poor jobs data supports IBC’s push for new economic development unit

Today’s disappointing regional employment data highlights the need for a dedicated economic development unit in Wollongong to create new job opportunities.

The unemployment rate in the Illawarra rose to 7.6%, from 6.3% in December.

Wollongong’s unemployment rate rose to 7.5%, from 6.5% previously.

The regional outcome is in contrast to the NSW result, released last week, which showed the unemployment rate in NSW fell from 5.9% to 5.6% in seasonally adjusted terms. The national unemployment rate fell from 5.5% to 5.3%.

“Today’s employment result is disappointing news,” said Illawarra Business Chamber CEO, Greg Fisher.

“It is important to keep the result in perspective as the regional employment data tends to jump around because of the small sample sizes and we have just come of three months of falls.

“But even taking into account this volatility, it is clear the region continues to lag the state and the nation when it comes to job creation.

“It is because of employment results like this that the IBC is pushing to have a dedicated Economic Development Unit reinstated in Wollongong.

“The IBC is currently finalising a paper on this issue, which contains a number of recommendations about how such a unit should operate and the benefits it would bring to the area,” concluded Mr Fisher.