Data wrap - jobs growth insufficient to bring down unemployment

The South Australian economy added about 1,100 jobs in March1, according to ABS Labour Force Survey data released today. However this rise was only sufficient to keep pace with growth in the working age population. As a consequence the state’s trend unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.9 per cent for the fourth consecutive month.


In seasonally adjusted terms there were relatively large rises in both employment and unemployment in March, with the net effect being that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to move into line with the trend unemployment rate.

Employment growth in South Australia has slowed significantly over the past year after job creation stalled in 2018. Total employment rose by 0.8 per cent through the year to March 2019, which is the weakest annual rise since early 2016. In this context trend data pointing to a recent resumption in employment growth is a welcome development. But it may be hard to sustain this pace of job creation in the face of various headwinds, including an expected slowdown in construction activity, ongoing unfavourable seasonal conditions in the farm sector, and budgetary challenges for the state government in the face of lower than expected GST receipts.

Nationally, the trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0 per cent in March 2019. A further solid rise in employment (up 20,700 persons) helped to offset an increase in unemployment (up 3,000 persons).

Labour market performance across the states remains quite uneven, with unemployment still quite low in New South Wales (4.3 per cent) and Victoria (4.6 per cent), and relatively high in Tasmania (6.5 per cent), Western Australia (6.1 per cent), South Australia (5.9 per cent) and Queensland (5.9 per cent).

Note: ¹ Trend estimate.

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