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SA's jobless rate falls, but still highest in country

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Thousands of jobs around the state are waiting to be filled as South Australia continues to record the highest unemployment rate in the country, despite a slight fall for December.

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South Australia’s jobless rate fell slightly by 0.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted, with 62,500 people recorded looking for work.

It’s the third consecutive drop in unemployment rates for South Australia since August last year when jobless figures rose to 7.9 per cent, seasonally adjusted, and remained steady on 7.6 after a 0.3 per cent drop for September and October.

However, SA continued to register the highest unemployment rate in the country.

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Tasmania remained SA’s closest jobless companion recording a rate of 6.8 per cent, seasonally adjusted, while New South Wales enjoys the lowest, with 5.2 per cent of its population out of work.

The employment figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics follow the release on Wednesday of the national job vacancies survey that reported job availability in South Australia for the November quarter had climbed 11.2 per cent to 10,200 positions.

The news of the local fall in unemployment coincides with the SA Government announcement this morning that work will begin on almost $2.5 billion of major infrastructure projects around the state this year, which it says will create thousands of jobs.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said projects such as the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Torrens Road to River Torrens upgrade were about to start, providing more than $6 billion of major infrastructure work.

“The $620 million Darlington Upgrade and $160 million O-Bahn tunnel are also due to start early in 2016 and together these three projects alone should support more than 850 jobs this year,” Mullighan said.

He added the Government’s “1000 homes in 1000 days” plan would create about 400 jobs this year and another 500 a year in 2017 and 2018.

“Add to that the $900m Festival Plaza redevelopment, of which the State Government is investing $180 million, and which will generate hundreds of jobs during construction and 400 ongoing positions.

“As the Government continues implementing Transforming Health, work is set to start on a $15m PTSD Centre of Excellence, creating about 30 jobs during construction.”

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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Job vacancy figures recorded by the ABS showed SA had some 10,200 positions to be filled during the November quarter, a huge 22.6 per cent increase compared to the same time in the previous year.

The bureau does not state what type of positions – such as full time, part time and casual or for how long – are available.

Acting Employment Minister Susan Close said employment in South Australia was at its highest in more than two and a half years.

“There are now approximately 8600 more people employed in South Australia than exactly 12 months ago, and employment increased for both full-time and part-time jobs over the past month,” she said.

“The number of unemployed people in South Australia has declined for five consecutive months, resulting in almost 5000 fewer unemployed people.

“However, we are not complacent with these numbers and the Government remains focused on implementing our plan to transform the State’s economy.”

The Property Council of Australia cautiously welcomed the latest ABS jobs data for SA but said the state’s jobless status was effectively treading water, like the industry’s confidence levels.

“Of course the drop in unemployment is positive and welcomed, but now is the time to put in place legacy building reforms in the areas of tax and planning, and a solution to our city’s adaptive reuse challenge,” the SA executive director Daniel Gannon said.

“There’s not one person in South Australia who would welcome brandishing the country’s worst employment figures, but that’s why we can’t waste any time in restructuring our economy.”

 

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