Western Australia’s unemployment rate worst in country

Western Australia’s unemployment rate is officially the worst of any state in Australia at 6.5 per cent.

Western Australia currently has the highest unemployment rate in the country, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Monthly figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed WA’s unemployment rate shot up 0.4 percentage points from 6.1 per cent in September to 6.5 per cent last month on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Country-wide employment trend however decreased in October for the first time since November 2013, with unemployment rate steady at 5.6 per cent – and WA might be to blame.

WA continues to feel the brunt of the slowdown in the resources construction boom and generally softer commodity prices.

WA Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said it was “always disturbing” when the jobs market was under stress.

“Regrettably we have an economy which is subject to fluctuations and volatility depending on the price of commodities and the jobs market will increase and decrease accordingly,” he said.

“You’ve got to remember, we have had an enormous increase in people from the Eastern States during the mining peak several years ago, now those people are finding that their job prospects have been reduced because the resource industry is in a slump.”

He said the Government had created jobs through major construction projects it had been “roundly criticised” for pursuing during its term.

Full-time jobs surged by 41,500 from September, when they shrank by a revised 74,300, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

Part-time jobs fell by 31,700, while overall employment was up 9800, falling short of economists’ forecasts for a 20,000 gain.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the figures represented the “worst number of unemployed people in the history of our State” and accused the State Government of failing to diversify the economy beyond mining.

“Over 92,000 West Australians are out of work,” he said. “Twenty-two consecutive months of increases in unemployment. An additional 62,000 West Australians out of work since this Government arrived in office.

“This is a jobs crisis of monumental proportions in WA that is of the Liberal-National Government’s making.”

Australia-wide, 10,000 jobs were added in October, and the ABS attributes the decrease in trend employment to higher part-time employment.

The 8,400 people working part-time as of last month were more than offset by the 9,500 people who stopped working full-time.

There are now fewer jobs compared to a year ago in Western Australian (down 1.5 per cent), Tasmania (-1.4 per cent) and Queensland (-1.3 per cent).

Courtesy: WAToday, AAP, AFR

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