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SA's jobless rate drops - but still high

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South Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped dramatically from 7.3 per cent to 6.3 per cent in September, but remains markedly above the national average 5.2 per cent – and its trend jobless rate increased.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force figures for September, released this morning, show South Australia’s jobless rate has recovered from the August spike which saw the highest figure for three years.

Queensland now has claimed the nation’s worst jobless figure of 6.5 per cent, after the national rate dropped slightly from 5.3 per cent.

But SA’s trend jobless figure – considered a more accurate barometer than volatile seasonally adjusted figures – climbed slightly last month, from 6.4 to 6.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, SA’s participation rate – measuring those actively looking for work – fell by 0.6 per cent to 63.3 per cent, the lowest in mainland Australia.

Premier Steven Marshall last month said the state’s jobless rate was increasing because more long-term unemployed were now looking for work and pushing up the participation rate.

New South Wales’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent remains the nation’s lowest, despite increasing from 4.3 per cent in August, while Victoria’s fell slightly to 4.7 per cent.

Western Australia recorded 5.7 per cent and Tasmania 6.2 per cent.

Nationally, 709,600 people were counted as unemployed in September, an eight per cent drop from August, while the underemployment rate – measuring those who would like to work more hours – dropped from 8.5 to 8.3 per cent.

Another 26,000 people found full-time jobs taking the national tally to 8.84 million, but part-time employment fell by 11,000, with just under 4.1m now working casually.

Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said that the 1 per cent rate drop from August to September – following a 1 per cent jump from July to August – highlighted “the inherent volatility in the headline rate, with the seasonally adjusted participation rate easing but still remaining strong”.

Pisoni said a record 855,000 South Australians now had jobs, including 553,000 full-time, with 15,000 joining the workforce since the Marshall Government’s election in March 2018.

SA’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March 2018 was 5.6 per cent, compared with 6.3 per cent today.

Table: Australian Bureau of Statistics

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