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"No complacency" as SA locks in jobs gains

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South Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly in September after last month’s big fall, with Employment Minister Kyam Maher saying the state can’t afford to be complacent with the closure of Holden.

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The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, released today, show the rate was 5.8 per cent in September compared with 5.7 per cent in August and 6.2 per cent in July.

The result sees SA outstripping Queensland and Victoria and compares with the national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent (down from 5.6 per cent in August).

Maher said SA’s headline employment rate was “the second best in four-and-a-half years” and showed there was “a record 828,100 people in work”.

“The state’s unemployment figure is now 1 per cent less than the exact same time as last year, down from 6.8 per cent to 5.8 per cent.

“I welcome the figures, but with the closure of Holden tomorrow we cannot be complacent.”

Today’s figures show that nationally, the number of people in employment grew by 19,800 in September, slightly higher than forecast, although most of the increase came from part-time work.

Most other states, except Queensland, recorded a fall in the seasonally adjusted rate. Victoria recorded the highest percentage of jobless (6 per cent), while NSW had the lowest (4.6 per cent).

However, South Australia had the biggest decrease in the trend unemployment rate – down 0.2 percentage points to 5.8 per cent – which the ABS says provides the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.

Nationally, the trend unemployment figure was the same as the seasonally adjusted: 5.5 per cent.

The state Liberals’ employment spokesman Corey Wingard said while he welcomed the drop in the trend unemployment rate, he was concerned about what would happen following Holden’s closure.

“One of the real concerns is that the Weatherill Government has not done enough to transition component supply chain workers into new employment and training opportunities,” he said.

“Full-time jobs in South Australia fell during the last month and many more full-time jobs will be at risk when Holden closes tomorrow.”

Wingard added that the youth unemployment rate in SA was the second-highest in the nation – “it’s alarming that so many of our young people can’t see a future for themselves here”.

The Reserve Bank has previously said it anticipates above above-average employment growth for the remainder of this year based on job advertisements, vacancies and hiring intentions data.

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