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Rising SA unemployment defies full-time job surge


South Australia’s unemployment rate increased in May to remain the nation’s highest – despite a surge of 13,000 more full-time jobs helping deliver a record total of 592,800.

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According to seasonally adjusted figures released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics this morning, the state’s 4.8 per cent jobless rate – up from 4.5 per cent in April – came as the national rate steadied at 3.9 per cent in May, the equal lowest level since August 1974.

South Australia is followed by Tasmania (4.5 per cent) and Northern Territory (4.1 per cent) while New South Wales and Queensland had jobless rates of 4 per cent.

Victoria (3.7 per cent), ACT (3.3 per cent) and Western Australia (3.1 per cent) were the best-performing employment states.

The national youth unemployment rate remained at 8.8 per cent, 2.8 per cent lower than in March 2020.

The 0.1 per cent increase in South Australia’s unemployment rate can be attributed to a  0.3 per cent increase in the participation rate to 63.2 per cent – the percentage of people either in work in looking for a job.

This resulted in a 5600-person increase in the state’s total labour market from April to May to 929,200.

While the number of unemployed people in the state increased by 1600 to 43,000 in May, the number with a job increased by 4000.

This was most notable in a 13,400 increase in the number of people in full-time jobs to 592,800 a record for the state. This included 7700 more males in full-time work and 5700 females.

Nationally, the number of people in work in May increased by 61,000.

The employment to population ratio rose to 64.1 per cent in May, an all-time high and 1.6 percentage points higher than March 2020.

Head of labour statistics at the ABS Bjorn Jarvis said the national increase in the number of employed people in May followed a smaller increase of 4000 people in April, which coincided with Easter, school holidays, impacts from floods and ongoing disruptions associated with the Omicron variant.

“The increase in May 2022 was the seventh consecutive increase in employment, following the easing of lockdown restrictions in late 2021. Average employment growth over the past three months (30,000) continues to be stronger than the pre-pandemic trend of around 20,000 people per month,” he said.

“In addition to the continuing trend of increasing employment, we have continued to see relatively stronger growth in hours worked. This is something we also saw this time last year, before the Delta outbreak.”

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