WA News

License article

Shock rise in WA unemployment

WA's unemployment rate has skyrocketed in only one month to its highest level in two years.

The rate jumped from 4.0 per cent to 4.6 per cent in October, with 8300 new people added to the jobless list.

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.

However, the sharp rise shadows the 1900 jobs that were created during October.

A record 1.3 million people are now employed in WA.


The unemployement rate jump follows decisions by several large mining 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 jobs were 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.

- with Thomas Hunter