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SA unemployment rate lowest of the states

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South Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since February, with SA outperforming every other state on the jobless measure, but underemployment has grown.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today shows the state’s unemployment rate dropped in November to 6.2 per cent  (seasonally adjusted) – a fall of 0.8 percentage points from the previous month.

The rate was the lowest it has been in South Australia since February – the month before pandemic restrictions took off in Australia – when the state recorded an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent.

Nationally, only the Northern Territory and the ACT recorded lower unemployment rates.

Western Australia (6.4) and NSW (6.5) were the next best performers, followed by Victoria (7.1), Queensland (7.7) and Tasmania (7.9). The national rate was 6.8 per cent.

However, South Australia recorded the highest underemployment rate of any state, with 10.7 per cent of people wanting more work. The participation rate – which measures the percentage of the population either in work or looking for work – also dropped by the highest percentage of any state (equal with Queensland).

The unemployment rate fell to 6.8 per cent in November as a larger-than-expected 90,000 people joined the workforce during the month.

Economists had forecast a 40,000 rise in employment, with the jobless rate remaining at October’s level of seven per cent.

Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank said the jobless rate is now unlikely to reach eight per cent as previously feared.

Treasury is expected to have upgraded its unemployment forecasts when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hands down his mid-year budget review later on Thursday.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 84,200 full-time jobs were created in November, along with 5800 part-time positions.

The participation rate of those people in work or seeking employment rose to 66.1 per cent from 65.8 per cent.

Industry and Skills Minister David Pisoni welcomed the figures.

“It is the first time in more than a decade that South Australia has the lowest unemployment rate of the states and these numbers reflect the growing confidence in the South Australian economy,” he said.

“South Australia has had the strongest rebound in full-time employment of the states and is the only state to have more people in full-time employment than at the start of the year.

“The fact the number of South Australians in jobs has increased by 44,500 since the first shock of COVID-19 in May is a testimony to the economic management of the Marshall Government during a very difficult period.”

The Master Builders Association said the building and construction sector had led South Australia’s economic recovery.

“It has been a long time since South Australia’s unemployment rate was the lowest of any state,” said the association’s director of policy and communications, Will Frogley. “This is yet more evidence that despite all the challenges COVID has presented this year South Australia is a resilient place with a bright future ahead.”

more to come

with AAP

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