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Big drop in WA unemployment

Big drop in WA unemployment

Article by: Matt McKenzie
Source: WA Business News 14 April 2016

The unemployment rate in Western Australia has dropped 0.5 percentage points in March, to 5.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.

Nearly 17,000 jobs were created during the month, taking employment to nearly 1.36 million, again in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In trend terms, however, which the bureau considers a more accurate measure, employment rose by 700 while unemployment fell 0.3 per cent to 5.7 per cent, while the increase was 12,000 in original terms.

Employment among women, seasonally adjusted, lifted to the highest level on record, at 607,800.

Nationally, unemployment fell to 5.7 per cent, a 2.5year low, while employment rose by 26,100.

Commsec chief economist Craig James said employment had recorded a sizable rebound.

“Labour market conditions have certainly improved over the past year; business conditions are healthier, profitability has improved, and more importantly the housing sector is providing significant support to an array of industries,” he said.

“While the pessimists may focus on the fact that hours worked fell in the March, the slide in the unemployment rate to 5.7 per cent will provide a big boost to confidence amongst Aussie consumers.

“And as we saw over the latter part of 2015, job security plays a big part in household consumption.”

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said it was not an unambiguously strong result because full-time employment tailed off while part-time employment rose.

“Annual jobs growth of 2 per cent is roughly in line with that indicated by forward looking jobs indicators like ANZ job ads and business intentions regarding employment and the downtrend in unemployment is consistent with ongoing strength in the jobs market,” he said.

“The clear message is that jobs growth in the non-mining economy is continuing to more than offset the loss of mining related jobs.’’

Mr Oliver said jobs growth in WA had been 0.3 per cent year on year.