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SA unemployment rate soars

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South Australia's unemployment rate climbed to 7.3 per cent in April - the state's worst job figures for more than a year and by far the poorest performance of all the states.

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The state’s jobless rate is racing ahead of the national figure, which fell to 5.7 per cent (seasonally adjusted).

South Australia’s rate of 7.3 per cent is up from 7.0 per cent the previous month, and a full point ahead of the next worst state – Queensland – on 6.3 per cent.

It’s the state’s worst performance since February 2016.

“It is disappointing this month to see the South Australian unemployment rate [increase] up to 7.3 per cent,” Employment Minister Kyam Maher said.

“[However] we are heading in the right direction.

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen almost more 14,000 jobs created in South Australia and our unemployment rate has come down much closer to the national average.”

He said there were “a number of reasons” for the most recent unemployment spike.

“We’ve … seen a slow-down in traditional areas [of employment] like automotive, particularly in the supply chain, have seen jobs being shed, and we haven’t seen the projects such as naval defence ship building come on as quickly as we would like,” said Maher.

“We’ve also seen a very big increase in the last 12 months in the number of women who are entering the labour force: on trend terms, we’ve seen 5600 women enter the labour force over the last two months.

“With more people entering the labour force than jobs being found, that does affect our unemployment rate.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported today that South Australia was the only state to record a decrease in employment (down 5000), and also experienced the largest increase in unemployment.

By comparison, Victoria added 18,600 jobs, Western Australia 13,200, Queensland 9,800, and New South Wales 9,700.

South Australia’s unemployment rate spiked despite the state also recording the biggest decrease in the participation rate – down 0.2 per cent. The participation rate records the percentage of people who are in the market for work.

On the more stable trend measure, South Australia also recorded the highest unemployment rate – 7.0 per cent.

Property Council of Australia SA president Daniel Gannon said there were now “more South Australians unemployed than the seated capacity of Adelaide Oval”.

“It’s time for long-term structural reform instead of short-term band-aids,” he said.

He said the state’s economy had suffered from the withdrawal of headquartered companies moving their workforces interstate.

“It’s time to entice them back, which means establishing a taskforce to target potential companies to relocate to Adelaide’s CBD.”

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