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Employment in Brisbane will not return to pre-pandemic levels until March 2022, Brisbane City Council says.
An economic analysis presented to councillors at Tuesday's city planning and economic development committee showed more than 47,000 businesses across the Brisbane local government area were on JobKeeper benefits in June.
In March this year, Brisbane had 29,789 jobseekers looking for work. By May, that had skyrocketed to 64,191 and then dropped to 58,856 in September.
Brisbane's unemployment rate sits at 6 per cent, compared with Queensland's broader unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent. The picture is worse for Brisbane's youth, aged 15-24, for whom the unemployment rate is 13 per cent.
Hardest-hit sectors include the information media and telecom industries, with employment down 11 per cent, accommodation and food services (down 10 per cent), and arts and recreation (down 7 per cent).
But employment in public administration and safety sectors rose by 8 per cent, and financial services rose 3 per cent.
More than 3000 JobKeeper applications were made by businesses in the CBD, Petrie Terrace and Spring Hill by June, and more than 1500 applications by businesses in Bowen Hills, Fortitude Valley, Herston and Newstead.
Job numbers fell most sharply in the June quarter across the Brisbane city area, and councillors were told they were not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels until March 2022.
Deputy mayor Krista Adams said the figures showed cautious optimism for the city.
"Brisbane has seen a gradual increase in people heading back to the workplace, growing from a 40 per cent reduction from pre-COVID levels in April to less than 20 per cent in October, providing a much-needed boost for hard-hit CBD businesses," she said.
"Public transport usage is improving slowly but steadily, sitting around 50 per cent of pre-COVID levels, while Brisbane’s parks remain popular among residents."