THOUSANDS of job seekers in the Launceston region are spending almost 18 months looking for work, according to the latest jobs figures.
Australia Bureau of Statistics figures show it took 5600 people living in Launceston and the North-East 73 weeks on average to find a new job, up from 55 weeks this time last year.
Of those, more than 2000 have been classed as long-term unemployed, spending up to two years between jobs.
The wait is much longer than what Hobart job seekers face, who are spending an average of 48 weeks between jobs.
National Joblink, an organisation that engages young people with employment and education, said unemployed young people were missing out on the chance to build skills, and were struggling for longer to find work.
General manager Natasha Brewer said National Joblink helped about 160 young people in Launceston.
``This is a very worrying trend, and shows we have a crisis with our jobless young people,'' Ms Brewer said.
``We need to ensure that there is future funding for young people who are struggling with the transition from education to employment,'' she said.
Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy said the figures were ``of great concern''.
Mr Reidy said it was a ``crisis issue'' for the federal government, and that the state government had a ``very positive role to play'' by introducing programs to get people job ready.
``The programs have to be about utilising all the state resources like Skills Tasmania, the TAFE sector and high schools and colleges for the better equipping of Tasmanians for those jobs in the economy that are yet to emerge,'' Mr Reidy said.
Mr Reidy said the long wait was due to the availability of work and suitability of people and skills to match the jobs available.
He said the Newstart allowance as a long-term income was ``appallingly inadequate'' to get job seekers work-force ready.
``It's an impediment to people getting work,'' he said.