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Faint hope offered for SA jobless rate


Predictions of a slight rise in today’s national employment rate for November come as University of Adelaide analysis suggests SA’s jobless prognosis is not quite as ominous as expected.

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The wide-reaching report, produced by the Centre of Economic Studies, found exports had fallen but were rebounding, the economic output of the state would increase at a slower rate and the state’s unemployment would decline over two years.

However, the sting in the tail was the jobless rate would drop because people, particularly men, displaced by mining and manufacturing restructures and cost cutting would fall off the unemployment radar.

Co-author centre executive director Associate Professor Michael O’Neil said SA’s unemployment levels were contrary to other economic indicators for the state which suggested improved but slow economic performance overall.

O’Neil cited the State Government downmarking in the Mid Year Budget Review of the state’s predicted employment growth from 1 per cent this financial year to 0.25 per cent.

“There are some mixed signals coming from the state economy recently, with labour market data painting a much more grim picture than other macroeconomic indicators,” he said.

The report also found the state’s exports that, although fell by 6.6 per cent in 2014-15 due to lower mining exports, were recovering volume through the middle of this year.

“We anticipate the strongest growth in exports in the near future to come from agriculture and education,” O’Neil said.

The report’s co-author, centre deputy director Steve Whetton, said gross state product would continue to increase but at a slower pace over the next two years.


Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

“We expect this growth will be weighed down by the job losses and other structural adjustments in manufacturing, as well as further reductions in the value of mineral exports,” Whetton said.

“The unemployment rate should decline over the next two years, which would be welcome news for South Australia.

“However, we expect this to occur largely due to a fall in the participation rate, as some workers displaced by structural changes in the manufacturing and mining sectors exit the labour force.

“Such structural changes have seen a significant deterioration in employment outcomes for males recently.”

Today’s release of Australia’s employment figures is expected to be slightly weaker in November, after a 0.3 per cent drop the month before.

The number of Australians with a job is forecast to have fallen by 10,000 in November, after a rise of 58,600 in October.

The unemployment rate is tipped to rise to 6 per cent from 5.9 per cent in October and 6.2 per cent in September, according to an AAP survey of 12 economists.

JP Morgan chief economist Stephen Walters said it was inevitable there would be a weak month after such as strong result in October.

“Last month’s labour force survey looked too good to be true,” he said.

“While we have become increasingly optimistic on the outlook for the labour market, the strength in the October survey appears disconnected from Australia’s economic reality.”

with AAP

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