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SA's jobless rate holds steady, but final Holden impact to come

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South Australia’s jobless rate was unchanged in October, however the figures were gathered before the closure of Holden last month.

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The figures released today show South Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was 5.8 per cent – the same as the previous month and only bettered by NSW and Victoria.

The more stable trend rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 5.6 per cent  – only marginally above the national average and better than all the states except for NSW.

The improvement came in full-time jobs, while the number of people in part-time work dropped.

However, the figures were gathered largely in the two weeks leading up to the closure of Holden’s Elizabeth factory on October 20, so the impact of those job losses are yet to be seen. At the date of closure, there were 950 workers at the carmaker.

A spokesperson for the ABS told InDaily the figures for October were based on interviews conducted in the two weeks from October 8 to 21.

The figures show the state’s participation rate – those in the workforce or looking for a job – dropped slightly, from 62 per cent to 61.8.

State employment minister Kyam Maher said he was encouraged that the trend rate was at a five-year low, and noted that 11,600 more South Australians were in full-time work now compared to two years ago.

However, he warned that the Holden closure’s impact was yet to be fully felt.

I welcome the figures, but with the recent closure of Holden and the flow on to the auto component manufacturing industry, we cannot be complacent and must continue to invest in emerging industries to create more local job opportunities,” he said in a statement.

Nationally, the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 5.4 per cent – its lowest level since February 2013.

The total number of people with jobs rose by 3,700 in October, according to the ABS.

Full-time employment rose by 24,300 and part-time positions fell by 20,700.

Full-time jobs have increased by 297,900 in the past 12 months, the ABS said, while part-time positions have grown by 57,800.

The participation rate dropped slightly to 65.1 per cent in October.

Economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain steady at 5.5 per cent in October.

The Australian dollar was boosted by the jobs figures, hitting 76.10 US cents, up from 75.93 US cents just prior to their release.

– with AAP

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