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SA's jobless rate the worst in the nation - again

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South Australia has reclaimed the unwanted mantle as the worst Australian state for unemployment, with the jobless rate jumping to 6.3 per cent in February.

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The state had been improving its position relative to other states, even after the Holden closure late last year, but the February figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show a worsening position on both the seasonally adjusted figure and the more stable trend rate.

The unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) increased from 6.1 per cent in January to 6.3 per cent in February, in the lead-up to the state election.

The national rate also increased – from 5.5 per cent to 5.6 per cent – with every state, bar NSW, experiencing a rise.

The ABS also released quarterly underemployment figures, which showed similarly bad news for the state.

South Australia experienced the biggest increase in underemployment over the three-month period – up by 0.8 percentage points to hit 9.6 per cent, well above the national figure of 8.4 per cent.

Unemployment and underemployment will be high on the agenda of incoming minister David Pisoni, who will be sworn in as Industry and Skills Minister this afternoon. His mega-portfolio will cover employment.

The participation rate – the proportion of people either in work or actively seeking a job – increased in South Australia by the highest percentage of any state.

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