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SA jobless rate drops, no longer the worst

South Australia recorded the biggest drop in the unemployment rate of all the states in July, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today.

Aug 17, 2017, updated Aug 17, 2017

The jobless rate fell from 6.6 per cent in June (seasonally adjusted) to 6.2 per cent in July – meaning South Australia no longer has the worst unemployment rate in the country. That mantle now belongs to Tasmania, with a rate of 6.3 per cent.

South Australia is now level with Queensland, but still ahead of the national rate, which dropped sightly to 5.6 per cent in July.

The more stable trend rate shows South Australian unemployment at the worst level of all the states – at 6.6 per cent – which was a small drop from the previous month (6.7 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, South Australia had the largest drop in unemployment (down 0.4 percentage points) following by Queensland (0.3).

However, the state’s participation rate – which measures people in employment or actively seeking work – dropped by 0.2 percentage points in contrast to the national rate which increased by 0.1 per cent.

Source: ABS

Nationally, the ABS said employment increased by 27,000 persons from June to July.

“The underlying composition of the net increase was a decrease of 20,300 persons in full-time employment and a 48,200 increase in part-time employment,” the ABS said.

“Since July 2016, full-time employment has increased by 197,700 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 41,600 persons.”

Master Builders SA said any celebration of the falling jobless rate must be tempered by concerns about South Australia’s youth unemployment.

CEO Ian Markos said unemployment among 15-24 year olds remained persistently high at 17.5 per cent – far above other states – and more action was needed to address it

“The building industry is pleased to see an improvement in South Australia’s unemployment rate this month, although of course we’re concerned about the looming impact of the closure of Holden’s in October,” he said.

“This will impact our industry through reduced demand but the real killer will be another blow to consumer and business confidence.

“But behind this headline rate lies a real concern – South Australia’s youth unemployment rate continues to be the highest in the country at 17.5 per cent; the next highest is in Tasmania at 14 per cent.”

State acting employment minister Susan Close said South Australia had experienced 22 consecutive months of jobs growth.

“The State Government is focused on securing investments that will create jobs and secure the future prosperity of South Australia,” she said.

Liberal employment spokesman Corey Wingard welcomed the drop in the seasonal rate, but pointed out the state had been “at the foot of the table on trend terms for 32 consecutive months”.

“It remains a huge concern that this government has failed to articulate an economic strategy to counter the loss of thousands of jobs in the automotive sector when Holden shuts its doors,” he said.

Also today, both the South Australian and federal governments pushed the jobs boost to come from an irrigation project in Adelaide’s north.

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The project is expected to deliver up to 3700 jobs after the Federal Government agreed to partly fund the $155.6 million scheme.

The northern Adelaide irrigation scheme will provide an additional 12 gigalitres a year of recycled water from the Bolivar wastewater treatment plant.

The State Government said that the extra water would go towards expanding the state’s agriculture and horticulture industries in the northern Adelaide plains.

“Growing the reputation and capacity of the region for premium food production will boost the economic future of the horticulture industry and its communities,” SA Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell said.

The northern suburbs of Adelaide including Elizabeth are expected to be hit hard by the closing of car manufacturer Holden later this year, and the government said that high-tech food production was one way to create jobs.

The SA vegetable growers body, AUSVEG SA, welcomed the announcement, saying the horticulture industry was already worth more than $1 billion a year to South Australia, and growing demand from Asia meant investment in water infrastructure was critical.

– with AAP

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