The national jobless rate fell in January to a seasonally adjusted 6.4 per cent, down from 6.6 per cent in December.
However, SA bucked the trend, rising from 6.4 per cent in December to 7.1 per cent last month.
Released this morning, the ABS statistics are a stark result for the state’s labour market, which boasted the lowest unemployment rate of all the mainland states of 6.2 per cent in November
Queensland now has the second-highest unemployment rate at 7 per cent followed by Victoria (6.3 per cent), WA (6.2 per cent), NSW (6 per cent) and Tasmania (5.9 per cent).
The ACT (4.4 per cent) and Northern Territory (5.6 per cent) have the lowest jobless rates in Australia.
South Australia’s underemployment rate fell dramatically in January to 8.3 per cent from a nation-leading 10.4 per cent before Christmas and is now only just higher than the national average of 8.1 per cent and below Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria.
However, the state’s participation rate, which measures the proportion of people either in the workforce or looking for a job, also fell slightly and remains the second-lowest in the country, ahead of Tasmania.
SA Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas said it was a gut-wrenching result for the state.
“To lose more than 12,000 jobs in a month is a significant blow to our economy –worse by the fact we still have more than 77,000 people relying on JobKeeper, which is due to end next month,” he said.
“But what we should remember is that these aren’t numbers, these are people – thousands of South Australians who have been let down by the Marshall Liberal Government’s failed economic response to the recession.”
Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic meant employment figures would continue to “bounce around” until normal economic conditions returned.
“The State Government understands the depth of the economic challenges posed by the pandemic and is committed to leading the state through these significant challenges,” he said.
“The State Government’s $4 billion fiscal stimulus is designed to counter the economic impact of COVID-19 over the short, medium and long term to ensure South Australia’s economy remains on an even keel throughout the pandemic.”
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