Premier Jay Weatherill insists he is focused on creating jobs, despite South Australia’s unemployment rate remaining the worst of all the mainland states.
Premier Jay Weatherill insists creating jobs is at the heart of what his Labor government is about, despite official figures showing South Australia’s unemployment rate remains the worst of all the mainland states.
Figures released on Thursday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that 56,900 South Australians were listed as unemployed in February, compared with 50,400 at the same time last year.
The confirmation that almost 7000 South Australians joined the ranks of the unemployed in South Australia over the past 12 months comes just days ahead of Saturday’s state election.
South Australia’s jobless rate stood at 6.7 per cent in February, a rise of 0.1 per cent compared to the previous month. By contrast, the unemployment rates in the nation’s two largest states, NSW and Victoria, were unchanged at 5.8 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.
However, the official figures also confirm Mr Weatherill’s statement on Thursday that the rise in South Australia’s headline unemployment rate has been driven by an increase in the number of people looking for a job.
He said South Australia had a lower cost of doing business compared to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and that his government had been investing in industries to bring jobs to the state.
“Recently HP announced they are bringing over 400 high end IT jobs into South Australia. This investment doesn’t just happen. Government needs to work in partnership with business and invest in the future of the state,” Mr Weatherill said.
“Our infrastructure investment in projects like the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, Southern Expressway and Riverbank Precinct has ensured thousands of South Australians have stayed in jobs.”
Opposition leader Steven Marshall said a Liberal government would be doing everything it could to lower the state’s unemployment rate.
“We’ve announced 18 separate policies designed with one purpose in mind and that’s to employ more South Australians,” he said on Thursday.
The national unemployment rate was steady in February at a decade high of six per cent, despite a strong rise in the number of people employed in the month.
Full-time employment soared by a staggering 80,500, but was offset by a drop in part-time workers.
Both Treasury and the Reserve Bank expect the unemployment rate to rise further in coming months as the economy struggles to transition from a fading mining investment boom to broader based growth.