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SA jobless rate and full-time employment both climb

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South Australia’s jobless rate increased to 5 per cent in August, as the total number of people in work fell by almost 3000 from July but full-time employment reached a new high.

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Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this morning.

However, the ABS says the data has been impacted by lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, which led to a 1.1 per cent fall in employment nationally and a 3.7 per cent drop in total hours worked.

In SA, the unemployment rate increased 0.3 per cent from 4.7 per cent in July – its lowest level since 2010.

Youth unemployment fell to 9.2 per cent in August, a 12-year low.

South Australia now sits in the middle of the pack after enduring several months in the first half of the year with Australia’s highest unemployment rate.

According to the latest figures for August, Tasmania now has that tag (5.5 per cent) followed by Queensland (5.3 per cent), SA, NSW (4.9 per cent), Western Australia (4.6 per cent, Victoria (4.1 per cent), ACT (3.5 per cent) and the Northern Territory (3.4 per cent).

The number of people employed in South Australia in August was 874,100, down from the record 876,900 in July, while the participation rate – measuring the percentage of people either in work or looking for a job – was steady at 62.9 per cent.

The number of unemployed people in the state increased by 2900 to 45,600.

However, the number of people in full-time work in South Australia increased to an all-time record of 569,500, up from 565,600 in July.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the latest data showed that New South Wales continued to have a large influence on the national employment and hours worked figures as well as the participation rate.

“The large falls in employment and hours in New South Wales in August followed falls in July (37,000 and 7.0 per cent), with employment and hours down by 210,000 people and 13.0 per cent since the beginning of the lockdown in late June,” he said.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen large falls in participation during lockdowns — a pattern repeated over the past few months.

“Beyond people losing their jobs, we have seen unemployed people drop out of the labour force, given how difficult it is to actively look for work and be available for work during lockdowns.

“The fall in participation and unemployment in August 2021 echoes what we saw with the tight lockdown conditions in Victoria last year, during the second wave of infections.”

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