THE Sunshine Coast has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country, according to a federal government report that details a shift away from entry level jobs for young people.
In its latest report, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency highlighted a "worrying cluster" of youth unemployment on the Sunshine Coast, which was similar to other tourism areas including northern New South Wales.
The full-time unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds on the Sunshine Coast reached 11.9 per cent in the year to April, while the region's overall unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent, the report showed.
Meanwhile, 33.5 per cent of 15- to 19-year-olds were unemployed during the same time period, compared to the national average of 23 per cent.
The report also revealed the rural and farming region of West Moreton, which includes the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim region west of Brisbane, had the highest unemployment rate in the country (15.5 per cent) for 20- to 24-year-olds.
The figures have come as now surprise to Coast business leaders who say the economic downturn has hit our three biggest employers - construction, retail and tourism - hard.
Last week, Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson highlighted the exodus of youth from the area as a worrying trend during a business leaders forum called to tackle the region's economic problems.
Representatives of the Sunshine Coast Youth Partnership called on Coast businesses to provide more employment and work experience options for young school leavers, especially during their gap year.
See extended co verage in tomorrow's Sunshine Coast Daily