TOUGH SLOG: Joshua Farnsworth, 18, of Lismore, has been looking for work for eight months.
TOUGH SLOG: Joshua Farnsworth, 18, of Lismore, has been looking for work for eight months. Jacklyn Wagner

Age a barrier in job search

EVERY day Joshua Farnsworth scours the internet in search of work.

Yet despite applying for about a dozen jobs every week for the past eight months, the 18-year-old is continually passed over for older applicants.

“I'm trying to get a job in a butcher shop, that's where my skills are - in the meat industry. But a lot of the older guys are taking the jobs I'm applying for. It's really stressful,” he said.

Despite his regular knockbacks, Mr Farnsworth isn't planning to give up his search.

“I sometimes get depression but when I work it lifts me up,” he said.

But many others on the North Coast have simply given up looking for work after finding it too tough in the current downturn.

ANZ's quarterly examination of the health of regional economies found that while most of regional Australia has weathered the downturn better than the cities, the North Coast had not.

While the headline figure of a 2.2 percentage point fall in unemployment to 5.8pc in the region looks positive, it belies the fact that thousands of jobseekers in the region are no longer bothering to look for work, with the participation rate falling to 50.5pc.

ANZ economist Paul Deane tactfully described the economic performance of the North Coast for the three months to July as 'mixed'.

“There is not a lot of good news for the North Coast,” he said.

The report found non-residential construction on the North Coast declined in the quarter by 35pc, compared with 50pc across NSW.

Still, most other regional areas saw an increase, some by as much as 40pc.

Mr Deane said what activity there has been over the last three months had been boosted by the government's stimulus package.

The good news for home owners in Casino and Lismore is the values of their homes have increased, 5pc and 1pc respectively - thanks in large part to the boost provided by the first-home buyer's grant.



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