Adelaide, Australia, Sept 3, 2019 -- South Australia does not have an unemployment problem despite latest figures showing the state’s jobless rate is now the highest in the nation, Premier Steven Marshall says.
It comes a day after Origin Energy announced it is cutting about 140 jobs from its Adelaide call centre and amid growing concerns that 700 submarine maintenance jobs will be lost to Western Australia.
Mr Marshall was asked if SA was grappling with an unemployment problem and he insisted there was no issue.
"None whatsoever," he said.
"The trajectory is very, very positive – much better than we’ve seen for the last decade."
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in August showed the state’s jobless rate for July jumped by 0.9 percentage points to 6.9 per cent, making it the highest in Australia.
It was the highest rate since May 2017, when it reached 7 per cent.
There were 62,900 people looking for a job in SA in July, 8200 more than in June.
The rise came as more people entered the workforce with the proportion of the adult population in work or looking for work- the participation rate - at its highest level since May 2013.
"Let’s be clear, whilst we did have an increase in unemployment last month, we also had an increase in employment so we’ve got record employment," Mr Marshall said.
"The reason the unemployment rate went up is because more South Australians who are long-term unemployed, not looking for jobs, have now said ‘I want a job’.
"Now that creates a greater task, a greater challenge for the government and we’re up to it."
Mr Marshall said the Government had created 15,700 jobs since it came into power in March 2018.
Opposition treasury spokesman Stephen Mullighan said despite Mr Marshall promising more jobs, "he’s delivered the highest jobless rate in Australia".
"South Australia has the worst unemployment rate in Australia, and Steven Marshall says that’s no problem whatsoever," he said.
"This is a truly shocking comment from Steven Marshall, who is supposed to be in charge of the state’s economy.
"How can South Australians have confidence Steven Marshall can reduce the jobless rate, when he doesn’t think there is a problem in the first place?"
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Origin is a UK-based manufacturer of folding and sliding door.
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2019
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