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SA posts worst jobless rate in the country

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South Australia ended 2019 with the worst unemployment figures in the country, according to official data released today.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for December 2019 showed South Australia with an unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted ) of 6.2 per cent – the only state with a headline jobless rate over 6 per cent.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped marginally from November when it was the equal worst with Queensland at 6.3 per cent.

Queensland is now in second place on the unwanted tally, with a rate of 5.7 per cent.

All states – bar Victoria – recorded decreases in the jobless rate. The national rate also dropped from 5.2 to 5.1 per cent.

The participation rate – the proportion of South Australians either in work or actively seeking a job – also dropped.

The State Government last year repeatedly pointed to an increase in the participation rate as a positive – a vote of confidence in the economy – and a reason why the unemployment rate was ticking up.

The more stable trend rate of unemployment was unchanged at 6.4 per cent – also the worst in the nation.

The data comes amid more bad news for jobs in the South Australian, with retailer Harris Scarfe set to close its stores and the economic impact of severe fires on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills yet to be fully felt.

German supermarket giant Kaufland announced yesterday it would not be going ahead with expansion plans in Australia, which included landmark stores in Adelaide.

That decision came despite a partially built Kaufland “hypermarket” site in Prospect and an approved construction at the old Le Cornu site on Anzac Highway.

Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said the unemployment result showed there was “further work to be done to strengthen the economy the SA economy and create more jobs”.

He pointed to a number of projects that he believed would lead to more jobs, including the construction of new schools in Adelaide’s south and north, a wind and solar farm near Port Augusta and North-South corridor construction jobs.

He said that business conditions were improving in the state but “we know there are global and national economic headwinds at play, and that’s why the Marshall Government is resolute in delivering our comprehensive skills program to deliver more jobs and career pathways for South Australians”.

“Skilling South Australia is a $200 million program which has recently achieved its hundredth project co-designed with industry and training providers to deliver the skills required by business and provide skilled employees for the jobs of the future,” Pisoni said.

“We are also investing massively in a $12.9 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects, which will ensure jobs in the construction industry are supported.”

Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said jobs growth for the 2019 calendar year was “a paltry 0.1 per cent” while youth unemployment had hit a “shocking” 14.3 per cent – up from 11.5 per cent at the 2018 state election.

“Steven Marshall’s agenda of cutting job-creating programs and whacking South Australians with higher fees, charges and taxes is leading to higher unemployment,” he said.

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