15/07/2021 - 12:15

WA jobless rate jumps

15/07/2021 - 12:15

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A rise in the number of men seeking work has led to a rise in the state’s unemployment rate by almost 0.5 percentage points in June.

WA jobless rate jumps
The streets of Perth. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

A rise in the number of men seeking work has led to a rise in the state’s unemployment rate by almost 0.5 percentage points in June.

Western Australia’s unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent in the month, seasonally adjusted, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The unemployment rate for men was 5.6 per cent, seasonally adjusted, up from 4.7 per cent, while the rate for women was steady at 4.6 per cent.

Most of that discrepancy is explained by a big lift in the participation rate for men, from 72.8 per cent to 74.5 per cent.

The participation rate measures the number of people seeking work, or in jobs, against the working age population.

Many of those men entering the labour force found success, with an increase in the number of employed males of more than 10,000 in the month.

The number of women in part-time work fell about 9,000 to be around 331,000 (not statistically adjusted), and full-time jobs for women increased approximately 11,000 roles, seasonally adjusted.

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The national unemployment rate was 4.9 per cent.

Commsec chief economist Craig James described it as a decade low, although he said it would reflect decisions made months ago.

“(T)oday’s data is certainly encouraging, but a lot has happened, positive and negative, in the period since,” Mr James said.

“On the positive side of the ledger, job vacancies remain near 12-year highs.

“SEEK job ads are up almost 24 per cent on two years ago, despite falling 1.3 per cent in June. 

“And applications per job ad rose 6.1 per cent in June, a sign of confidence.”

Construction activity was booming, Mr James said, although he warned about the rampant spread of the Delta strain (Indian variant) of COVID-19.

APAC chief economist at job site Indeed, Callam Pickering, said the job market was running smoothly at surface level.

“Yet below the surface the impact of COVID lockdowns are being felt and that unfortunately will continue until we get on top of our vaccine rollout,” he said. 

“It's a bit of a two steps forward, one step back type of situation.”

“Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since December 2010, tightening much faster than anticipated. 

“Australian employers should prepare themselves for skill shortages either developing or becoming further exacerbated in the months to come. 

“This will become a key theme for the labour market in the second half of the year.”

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