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National jobless rate hits decade high

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Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 6.0 per cent in January, official figures show, the highest level since July 2003.

South Australia’s trend estimate of unemployment remains unchanged on 6.7 per cent, the highest of the mainland states.

The state’s seasonally adjusted figure, however, pulled back from 6.8 per cent to 6.6 per cent.

Nationally, the total number of people with jobs fell 3,700 to 11.460 million in the month, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

The median forecast for the unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent in January, with total employment growth of 15,000, according to an AAP survey of 12 market economists.

Full-time employment fell 7,100 to 7.953 million in January and part-time employment was up 3,400 to 3.507 million.

The participation rate – the proportion of the population that have a job, are looking for work or are ready to start work – was steady at 64.5 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted rates for the states.

* NSW – 5.8% in Jan, down from 5.9% in Dec

* Vic – 6.2%, down from 6.3%

* Qld – 5.9%, up from 5.7%

* SA – 6.8%, unchanged

* WA – 4.6%, up from 4.2%

* Tas – 7.6%, unchanged

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