ACT News

License article

Jobless hits 10,000 in the ACT

Unemployment has risen in the ACT, bucking the national trend as public service cuts hit the capital.

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show there are now more than 10,000 Canberrans actively looking for work - the first time it has cracked that mark since mid-2001.

There was a surprise drop in the national jobless rate, which fell from a seasonally adjusted 5.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent in April. The economy picked up 50,000 new jobs in the month, including 34,500 new full-time positions.

But trend figures showed an increase in unemployment in the ACT.

April's jobless rate was 4.6 per cent in the capital, compared with the 4.5 per cent for March reported last month. The bureau has now revised up March's result to 4.6 per cent in trend terms in today's figures. It does not issue seasonally adjusted figures for the territory.

The latest figures showed there were 209,400 people employed in the ACT, and 10,100 unemployed.


It has also revised up March's figures to show there were 10,000 unemployed people. It last reported 10,000 or more unemployed in June 2001.

The jump in unemployment follows news that more than 2500 public service jobs were cut in the six months to December.

The Public Service Commission's latest APS jobs snapshot showed there were 2608 fewer public servants employed in December 2012 than six months earlier, as a result of the spending cuts and the increased "efficiency dividend" in 2012-13.

The data shows the bureaucracy employed 165,598 staff across Australia on December 31.

The public service cuts have also hurt retailers and other businesses across the capital, ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting chief executive Greg Schmidt said.

"Those people no longer have a steady income to go shopping and that affects a whole range of retail stores that rely on people having money their pocket," he said.

Mr Schmidt said local retailers had been suffering since the announcement of the federal election, prompting fears of further public service cuts which would affect the wider Canberra business community.

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr said that in absolute terms there was a record number of people in the territory with jobs.

In Assembly question time, Liberal MLAs linked the rise in unemployment to the Commonwealth job cuts.

Opposition leader Jeremy Hanson asked Mr Barr what his message was "to the approximately 10,000 Canberrans who are unemployed.''

Mr Barr said the ACT government would continue to try and diversify the economy and support jobs.

"We will continue to see employment grow in the ACT under the policies of this local government,'' Mr Barr said.

1 comment

Comment are now closed