WA unemployment rate rises on the back of mining downturn

Western Australia’s jobless rate has hit highs not seen since the GFC, with many blaming the downturn in the mining sector.

WA’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.2 per cent in April, up from 4.8 per cent in March.

Figures were driven by a lift in the jobless rate of males in state which rose to 5.2 per cent, up from 4.6.

Nationally, the outlook was a little more positive, with an extra 50,000 people gaining employment over the last month, the West Australian reported.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 34,500 full time jobs were created nationally through April with another 15,600 people getting part time work.

Elsewhere, the unemployment rate in NSW fell to 5.3 per cent, in Queensland (to 5.6 per cent) and in South Australia (to 5.7 per cent)

It lifted in Victoria (to 5.8 per cent), the Northern Territory (to 4.5 per cent) and Tasmania (to 7.5 per cent).

It was steady at 4.6 per cent in the ACT.

Macquarie economist Gabby Hajj said expects unemployment to rise in the coming months as he slowdown in growth in the mining sector would affects employment, The Australian reported.

"Over the past couple of years the resource sector has been responsible for almost all employment growth in Australia," he said.

"Now that's gone as an engine of demand for labour, the other sectors really have to step up to keep that rate of growth going but it just doesn't look like that's happening."

Treasurer Wayne Swan said a rebalancing in the labour markets was expected to occur.

"While Australia's unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the world, we shouldn't be surprised to see some volatility in the period ahead reflecting the transition underway in our economy," he said in a statement.

"Over the next year or so, we expect to see the resource investment boom transition into the production and export phase, which is less labour intensive."


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