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SA records highest unemployment rate as 600,000 jobs lost nationwide

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South Australia’s unemployment rate has surged to a national high 7.2 per cent after coronavirus restrictions crippled or shut down businesses across Australia and officially threw nearly 600,000 people out of work, including more than 40,000 in SA.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force figures for April released today show that 594,300 jobs were lost between March and April – a 4.6 per cent drop.

Nationally, there were 220,500 fewer full-time jobs, and 373,800 fewer part-time jobs.

Another 104,500 people joined the unemployment queue, bringing the total to more than 823,000.

The underemployment rate – measuring those who would like to work more hours – jumped by 4.9 percentage points to an all-time high 13.7 per cent.

Nationally, the monthly hours worked in all jobs plummeted by 163.9 million hours.

The ABS said the March temporary suspension of the requirement for people to actively look for work, and the JobKeeper wage subsidy announced on March 30, had impacted overall figures for the jobs survey which was undertaken in early April

SA’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate jumped nearly a full percentage point from the 6.3 per cent recorded in March as all states and territories recorded big jumps in unemployment, pushing the national average up to 6.2 per cent from 5.2 per cent in March.

New South Wales at 6.0 per cent unemployment lost 221,000 jobs, while Queensland shed 129,600 jobs to lift its rate to 6.8 per cent, the nation’s second-highest rate after SA.

Victoria lost 127,000 jobs, followed by Western Australia with 62,000.

South Australia’s participation rate, measuring those either in employment or actively seeking work, fell by 2.5 per cent to 60.4 per cent, while the national rate fell by 2.4 per cent to 63.5.

Youth employment took a beating around the country, with 213,500 people losing their jobs – a slump of 10.8 per cent – while the youth unemployment rate climbed to 13.8%.

‘This is the greatest economic challenge of our time, which is why the Marshall Liberal Government is responding swiftly and decisively to ensure as many businesses and jobs as possible make it through to the other side,” SA Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said.

He said the State Government had acted to help small business with $10,000 emergency cash grants and launching a business hub website, while a $1b economic response plan would drive infrastructure and jobs and offer payroll and land tax relief, among other measures.

Labor wants the State Government to urgently implement new measures to save jobs.

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