SA unemployment falls to national average

Unemployment in South Australia is on par with the national average, falling slightly after the state last month recorded the equal-highest rate in Australia.

Jun 13, 2024, updated Jun 13, 2024
The unemployment rate in South Australia is on par with the national average in May. Photo: InDaily.

The unemployment rate in South Australia is on par with the national average in May. Photo: InDaily.

The state’s unemployment fell by 0.2 percentage points to 4 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in May according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics data, after last month taking the title for the highest rate of unemployment in the country.

The rate is equal to the national average of 4 per cent – down 0.1 percentage points in the last month.

Western Australia has the lowest rate at 3.6 per cent, while both the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales recorded 3.8 per cent.

Queensland also recorded a seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment of 4 per cent in May, while unemployment is highest in Victoria at 4.4 per cent.

South Australian underemployment rose by 0.1 percentage points in May to hit 7.5 per cent, which is nearly the highest in the country – a title claimed by Tasmania at 7.8 per cent.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said employment rose by 40,000 people in May, and the number of unemployed people fell by 9000.

“In April we saw more unemployed people than usual waiting to start work. Some of the fall in unemployment and rise in employment in May reflects these people starting or returning to their jobs,” Jarvis said.

“While the total number of unemployed people fell by 9,000 in May, this followed a 33,000 increase in April. Unemployment was around 24,000 people more than in March, an average increase of around 12,000 people each month.

“There are now almost 600,000 unemployed people, however, that is still nearly 110,000 fewer people than in March 2020, just before the pandemic.”

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The number of hours worked on a seasonally adjusted basis nationally also fell by 0.5 per cent, which Jarvis said reflected more employed people than usual working reduced hours because of illness.

“Similar to May 2023, around 4.2 per cent of people worked fewer hours because they were sick, compared with the pre-pandemic average for May of 3.5 per cent,” Jarvis said.

Workforce participation has remained unchanged for a year now at 66.7 per cent – which is above the 65.6 per cent recorded in March 2020.

“In trend terms, the participation rate remains particularly high for women, at 62.7 per cent and around 1.5 percentage points higher than its pre-pandemic level. The participation rate also remains high for men, at 70.8 per cent, which is around 0.7 percentage points more than March 2020,” Jarvis said.

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