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SA unemployment equal worst on mainland

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South Australia’s jobless rate has jumped to become the equal-worst on the Australian mainland, with only Tasmania recording a worse performance.

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics data, released today, shows that South Australia’s unemployment rate – in seasonally adjusted terms – increased from 5.9 per cent in March to 6.1 per cent in April.

The rate was the same as Western Australia, with Tasmania recording the highest unemployment rate of all the states – 6.8 per cent.

South Australia’s participation rate – the proportion of the population either in work or actively looking for a job – increased by 0.3 per cent, which was only bettered by WA and NSW.

The participation rate increase explains why the unemployment rate went up, despite more South Australians being in work in April.

The more stable trend rate was unchanged on 6 per cent.

The bad jobs news comes on top of a local survey showing worsening business confidence in South Australia.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 5.2 per cent – up from 5.1 per cent in March.

The March quarter Business SA – William Buck Survey of Business Expectations, released today, showed “significant declines” in confidence, conditions and sales and revenue compared to the previous quarter.

Confidence fell into negative territory for the first time since December 2017, with more than a third of businesses expecting the state’s economy to perform weaker or slightly weaker over the next 12 months.

Business SA said the fall in confidence could be put down to uncertainty ahead of the federal election, including an expected increase in wage costs.

Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said a new record 854,300 (trend) and 855,500 (seasonally adjusted) jobs were held in South Australia, with an extra 1600 full-time jobs created in April.

The total 12,700 full-time jobs created in the past 12 months was a 2.3 per cent growth rate more than double the 0.9 per cent average for the past 20 years.

“Over the past year an extra 27.2 million hours were worked in South Australia, delivering nearly a billion dollars in extra wages,” Pisoni said.

“But we recognise that there is more work that needs to be done.”

Labor’s employment spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said South Australians’ job prospects were getting worse under the Liberal Government.

“Before the election, the Liberals promised ‘more jobs’,” he said.

“Yet after the election, the Liberals cut 29 job-creating programs, including the Future Jobs Fund and the Jobs Accelerator Grants.

“These cuts are clearly making the unemployment rate worse.”

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