Redlands employment takes coronavirus hit but Chamber of Commerce president warns toughest times could arrive post-JobKeeper

EMPLOYMENT across all Redlands industries has dropped by 5.5 per cent since the start of the pandemic but local Chamber of Commerce president Rebecca Young says the toughest times are yet to come.

ECONOMY: Redlands jobs have suffered a slight blow during the pandemic but the toughest times could be yet to arrive.

ECONOMY: Redlands jobs have suffered a slight blow during the pandemic but the toughest times could be yet to arrive.

Ms Young said the Redlands had fared well during the crisis, with just 2344 jobs lost since March, but businesses would face their toughest challenge later this year.

"My concern is what those numbers are going to look like in October and November after JobKeeper (is slashed)," she said.

"While I think we are faring well now, I will be very interested to see what happens after JobKeeper finishes.

"The toughest period for us is going to be March. I think six months on from JobKeeper is where we are going to feel it.

"That is where the chamber, council and the state government all need to work on some of the initiatives going around."

The construction industry recorded the greatest volume of job losses since the pandemic started, with the number of people employed in the industry across the Redlands dropping from 5360 in March to 4995 in June.

In percentage terms, the arts and recreation industry was dealt the biggest blow, with about 12 per cent of the 584-strong workforce losing their jobs.

All industries across the Redlands recorded a drop in employment but an upward trend is beginning to develop in all sectors as restrictions ease.

It comes the state government moves to inject $4.5 million into three Redlands projects that council believes will create or support about 68 local jobs.

Ms Young said it was important to support the construction sector as it was one of Redlands' largest employers and had an impact on tourism and retail cash flow.

She said the local job market was doing well compared with regional areas of Queensland and the diversity of industries had helped weather the coronavirus storm.

The next step was to get backing for chamber-driven projects like the Championing Redlands Coast Initiative, which had been set up to attract investors, create jobs and improve lifestyles.

"I know the attitude in Redlands has been that we are the Deadlands, that the council doesn't do well enough and we haven't been supported by the state government," Ms Young said.

"Maybe that was true leading into the pandemic and recent times, but unless people get behind Championing Redlands Coast, we are never going to change that attitude.

"I really believe the majority of voices are strong and resilient. We see it in the growing numbers of chamber members.

"People want to feel supported, they want to feel positive and all it needs is to drown out a little bit of that negativity.

"We can sit back and say the pandemic has the potential to ruin us, and it does, but we can stand up and ask 'what does this city need in the next six months to make sure everyone is supported?'."

The number of people employed across all industries in the Redlands increased between May and June.

It reflected a country-wide trend, with 210,800 people gaining employment during the same period.

However, the figure is at odds with Australia's unemployment rate, which stands at 7.4 per cent.

Stage four restrictions in Victoria are an example of how quickly the virus can change the economic landscape.

About 40 per cent of jobs that had been lost by mid-April had been regained in late June only to fall again by 24 per cent at the end of July.

The treasury expects the Victorian lockdown to push the Australian unemployment rate up to 10 per cent by the end of the year.

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