Business confidence driving growth and jobs on the Coast
  • Friday 30 December 2016
Airport expansion artist impression

Unemployment rates have continued to drop and job opportunities have risen on the Sunshine Coast during 2016.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows our unemployment rate has fallen by 2.0 percentage points this year to 4.7% in September, well below the 5.6% recorded for Australia.

Youth unemployment is also ahead of the curve at 9.8%, a major drop from 14.2% in November 2014 and well below the current 12.6% recorded for Australia.

These positive numbers are creating noticeable trends in the local recruitment and hiring market.

HRM Contracting and Consulting Manager for Sunshine Coast Sally Desch said 2016 had been a buoyant year across numerous job sectors.

“There has been an increase in employers looking for staff ranging from unskilled workers through to professional staff,” she said.

“We recently had a situation where we didn’t have enough tax accountants to fill the local demand vacancies. We also had strong recruiting demand for doctors.

“High business confidence, development on the Coast and the ever-growing talent pool we have here is driving this positive trend and I believe we are on the cusp of really good things to come in 2017.

“I see more positivity and more recruitment and roles becoming available.

“The Sunshine Coast is also definitely growing which is driving the confidence in health and construction and some of the big players are looking at the area to house their businesses.”

A recent ABS survey also revealed employers on the Sunshine Coast were likely to have grown their business over the past five years, with the proportion of employers who are increasing their staff numbers doubling from 14% in 2011 to 28% in 2016. 

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the latest figures, saying the foundations for a positive economic future were in place. 

“One of the greatest gifts any level of government can give to its community is confidence and the high business confidence and lowering unemployment we’re seeing on the Sunshine Coast is certainly encouraging to mums and dads that their children have bright futures here,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Our population of young Coast residents is growing and Sunshine Coast Council has a responsibility to put the pieces in place that will help them gain future employment and careers locally.

“It’s one of the key reasons why council developed the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS), targeting seven high value industries. This provides our region with a clear 20-year economic blueprint to build a high-value economy of choice for business, investment and employment.

“The Sunshine Coast is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s leading city regions, providing an outstanding location for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism.

“Our region is already seeing some fantastic results, being recognised as one of the strongest performing regional economies in Queensland, the highest levels of business confidence and a record decline in unemployment to below that of Queensland.

“Sunshine Coast Council had the busiest year on record in 2016 in terms of development, including issuing $1.28 billion of building approvals, the highest value of building approvals in seven years.

“The proof is there to see – we have put strong economic foundations in place and major capital investment is occurring across the region.

“We are developing Australia’s only greenfield CBD at Maroochydore as Australia’s first truly smart city, with work already underway and forecast to contribute $4.4 billion to the local economy over the life of the project.

“The $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital – the largest health infrastructure project in Australia at this time – is due to open in April 2017.

“On top of these game-changing projects we have seen the $3 billion Palmview master planned community and the $400 million redevelopment of Sunshine Plaza recently commence.

“The $347 million Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project also now has its approvals in place and construction will commence in 2017, with the expanded airport contributing $4.1 billion to the region’s economy through to 2040.

“The Sunshine Coast is also driving the development of seven high-value industries identified as having the greatest potential for success and well placed to service demand from domestic and global markets.

“In short – our vision is a smart, healthy and creative city-region that has its own identity and is intimately connected to the world.

”Our key infrastructure projects, industry development initiatives and our clear economic blue print will continue to drive the performance of our economy and encourage major businesses to invest in our region.

“Next year and beyond council will continue to support programs and initiatives that promote employment growth and a smart healthy future like the Sunshine Coast Job Show, the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards that foster entrepreneurship and innovative thinking by challenging our young people to come up with big ideas utilising digital technology.

“So our message is very clear – the future is here on our Sunshine Coast.”