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State jobless rate falls but still worst in nation

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South Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.3 per cent – its lowest level since 2012 – but is still the highest rate in the country.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this morning show the national jobless rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 4.9 per cent in June, down from 5.1 per cent in May.

It is the first time Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen below five per cent in more than a decade.

The SA rate is 0.5 per cent lower than in May and is the lowest since the 5.3 per cent recorded in November 2012.

The state’s youth unemployment rate fell below the national rate to 9.4 per cent, its lowest level since July 2011.

Of the other states, a resurgent Victoria led the way with a jobless rate of 4.4 per cent, followed by Tasmania (4.5 per cent), Northern Territory (4.8 per cent), ACT (4.9 per cent). NSW, Queensland and Western Australia all recorded unemployment rates of 5.1 per cent.

The number of SA residents in work fell 0.5 per cent for the month to 866,600 compared to May, while the underemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8 per cent.

The lack of impact caused by the reduction of total jobs on the SA unemployment rate was a result of a 0.7 per cent fall in the participation rate, which measures those actively looking for work.

The state’s participation rate was still the worst on the mainland at 62.6 per cent in June and is almost four points lower than the national rate of 66.2 per cent.

SA’s employment to population ratio also fell 0.3 per cent to 59.3 per cent while the total number of people listed as unemployed in the state dropped more than 5000 to 48,700.

The jobless rate among SA men was 5.7 per cent while 4.9 per cent of the female workforce in the state looked for a job.

Minister for Skills and Innovation David Pisoni said there were a record number of job vacancies in South Australia with 21,300 positions vacant.

“South Australia has created 22,200 jobs since the beginning of the year as our economy breaks free of the impact of COVID-19, providing new career opportunities for young and old alike,” he said.

ABS head of labour statistics said June was the eighth consecutive month of national declines in the unemployment rate.

“The declining unemployment rate continues to coincide with employers reporting high levels of job vacancies and difficulties in finding suitable people for them,” he said.

“The number of unemployed people fell by 22,000 in June, down to 679,000. This was around 325,000 people below the peak of 1 million unemployed people in July 2020.

“The youth unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points to 10.2 per cent, which was 1.4 percentage points below the rate at the start of the pandemic. The last time we saw a youth unemployment rate of 10.2 per cent was in January 2009.”

Meanwhile, ABS figures also released this week show dwelling approvals for South Australia fell by 11.9 per cent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis following the end of the HomeBuilder subsidy.

However, the 1312 dwellings approved in the month was still significantly up on the 928 approvals in May 2020 and 877 in May 2019.

Master Builders SA CEO Will Frogley said although approvals had declined since HomeBuilder scheme ended in March, building activity was still very strong by historic standards.

He said the strong pipeline of work in residential building should keep the sector very busy for the next 12-18 months.

“Despite a decline in May, new detached homes were up more than 50 per cent on the same time last year,” he said.

“Renovations are a similar story, up 74 per cent.

“Since COVID-19 South Australians have prioritised their homes over other spending, and strong house price gains over the past year are helping maintain strong numbers in this part of the market.”

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