ACT News

ACT unemployment rate rises to 5.2 per cent

The ACT's unemployment rate had a slight increase to 5.2 per cent in November following the national trend where it rose to 6.3 per cent.

In October, the ACT recorded its worst unemployment rate since July 2001 when it reached 5.4 per cent which then Chief Minister Katy Gallagher blamed on the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics revised the October figure down to 5.1 per cent in figures released on Thursday, a rate still not seen for 13 years - since August 2001.

Victoria and Queensland were the only other jurisdictions to record an increase in trend terms, with both increasing 0.1 percentage point to 6.9 per cent in November.

The ACT lost its status as the jurisdiction with the lowest unemployment rate in the country in October, but the gap between the ACT and Northern Territory widened to 1.3 percentage points. The unemployment rates for NSW (5.9 per cent) and Western Australia (5.1 per cent) remained the same as revised trends for October.

South Australia (6.5 per cent), Tasmania (7 per cent) and the Northern Territory (3.9 per cent) all recorded a 0.1 percentage point decrease in unemployment.

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Nationally the number of people employed rose by 42,700 to 11.64 million in November, the ABS said against market expectations of 15,000 newly employed and compared with a revised 13,700 in October.

The participation rate, a measure of workers and job seekers, climbed from 64.6 per cent of the population to 64.7 per cent.

In the ACT it remained the same at 71 per cent.

The November figures was the fastest pace of jobs growth in Australia since March 2012, but also the highest unemployment rate for more than 12 years.

ANZ said the figures were "slightly better than the market expected, and suggested labour market conditions improved modestly in November".

Chief minister and treasurer Andrew Barr said the unemployment rate was not surprising given Commonwealth cuts but was disappointing. 

He reiterated jobs were his number one priority as the government's new leader.

"The Barr Labor Government will push on with supporting the private sector to help our local businesses to grow and create jobs," he said.

"That's why we're pushing on with our $2.5 billion infrastructure program – which will create jobs and provide the important infrastructure our community needs."

Mr Barr said the territory was confronting "the most testing external economic environment in 20 years" and could not rely on the public service.

"The old certainty for our economy was its underpinning in a strong national economy or a friendly Federal Government," he said.

"Throughout our history of self-government, we have had at least one of those things. We have neither of those things today.

"We have to work with a new certainty. Our city will  – and in that environment we can only rely on ourselves."

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