Western Australia jobless rate at 2 year high

Given the continuing resource sector boom and the clamour for skilled migrants in WA, the latest unemployment stats for WA are somewhat surprising.

The rate has increased from 4.0% to 4.6% in October, with 8300 new people added to the jobless list,  rocketing the state’s unemployment rate to its highest level in 2 years.

There are now 63,100 people looking for work in WA, including 30,400 women and 32,700 men.

While the unemployment rate has not been higher since October 2010, the actual number of people looking for work is the highest since March 2010.

The unemployement rate jump follows decisions by several large resource sector companies to make hundreds of positions redundant.

Fortescue Metals Group axed 1000 jobs in September, while BHP Billiton also has cut hundreds of positions and delayed a large project.

WA has been the only state to continuously record a low unemployment rate this year and while it added tens of thousands of jobs during 2011-12, the rest of the nation collectively lost a similar amount.

However, today’s latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a turning of the tide.

More than 10,000 new jobswere added nationally in October in a signal that recent weakness in the national labour market may be stabilising.

National unemployment remained at 5.4 per cent, the same level it reached in September, as the jobs market bucked expectations of a further rise in the rate.

The economy added 18,700 jobs full-time for the month, well ahead of expectations, but lost 8000 part time jobs, with a net gain of 10,700 jobs. But the participation rate also fell as some job seekers gave up looking for work, helping to cap any rise in the official jobless rate.

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