Structural change and unemployment in regional Australia: reflections on a case study of North-east New South Wales
Buultjens, J, Howard, D & Moffat, S 2002, 'Structural change and unemployment in regional Australia: reflections on a case study of North-east New South Wales', in E Carlson (ed.), The path to full employment: Proceedings of the 4th Path to Full Employment Conference and 9th National Conference on Unemployment, Newcastle, NSW, 4-6 December, The University of Newcastle Centre of Full Employment and Equity, Newcastle, NSW, pp. 25-36. ISBN: 1920701095
Typically, rural and regional areas throughout Australia are perceived to have experienced greater problems in the their labour markets than urban areas. Higher levels of unemployment have supposedly resulted from difficulties in adjusting to the restructuring taking place in industries across the globe. This paper conducts a basic analysis of regional labour market performance over the past 25 years noting a significant change in the pattern in the recent census data. This suggested the need for a more detailed analysis at the regional level. The north east area of New South Wales was selected for case study, and the analysis revealed precisely when significant improvement in the region occurred. The analysis also showed that, rather than structural change to industries inside the region generating the positive employment outcomes, it may well have been the presence of highly elaborate labour market programs that were the source. Either way, more recent data from the north east area of New South Wales reveals a reversion to the old pattern of running substantially higher rates of unemployment than the national rate.