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SA jobless rate worst in country as global uncertainty grows

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South Australia’s unemployment rate rose slightly in February and is now the worst in the nation.

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As Australia and the world face economic uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) fell slightly last month from 5.3 per cent to 5.1 per cent.

“There was no notable impact on February 2020 Labour Force statistics resulting from the recent bushfires or COVID-19,” the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced today.

However, political and business leaders across the globe are expecting the economic implications of the virus to increase as it spreads and more exposed businesses lose customers or are forced to curtail activities.

South Australia’s unemployment rate increased slightly – from 5.7 to 5.8 per cent – but falls in other states meant SA was left at the top of the unwanted league table.

The more stable trend rate dropped by 5.9 to 5.8 per cent, but is also the highest of the states and territories.

South Australia’s participation rate – the proportion of people either in work or looking for a job – increased by 0.2 percentage points.

Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said the figures reflected the economic challenges facing the state.

“Clearly, we are facing national economic headwinds and the impacts of bushfires and the coronavirus will be felt across our state and Australia for some time to come, but we’re all in this together,” he said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is resolute in its support for SA businesses and the wider community to get through the challenges ahead.”

Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Close said the figures would make things more difficult as the state dealt with the economic hit coming from coronavirus.

“Steven Marshall (sic) first two budgets included cuts, closures, privatisations and record increases to fees, charges and taxes, which has led to a higher unemployment rate in South Australia,” she said.

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