SA unemployment rate rises
By Liam Mitchell
ADELAIDE — The unemployment rate in South Australia rose from 10.5% to 10.7% for the month of October — an increase of 1400 people out of work — taking the total number of unemployed in the state to over 76,000.
This increase has defied the national trend for the month — coming down from 10.2 to 10.1%, and means that SA now has the second highest unemployment rate in the country.
State employment minister Michael Rann has attempted to shift all the blame for the level of unemployment to the federal government, saying that federal employment minister John Dawkins has been too busy promoting Paul Keating's leadership aspirations.
However, the state government has a sorry record on employment. The Bannon government's recent budget included a 20% cut in capital works expenditure, while finance minister Frank Blevins recently heralded major cuts to the state public service.
The Government Agencies Review Group (GARG) "razor gang" is currently investigating ways to "make the public sector leaner and more efficient" and run the public service like the private sector.
This proposal has been attacked by the union movement, with UTLC vice-president Theo Marks calling for the GARG process to be frozen "at least until the recession is over".
Falls in part-time employment and the participation rate suggest that the drop in the national unemployment rate is largely caused by people simply giving up and leaving the labour market — that is, becoming part of the hidden unemployed.
The SA Employer's Federation has predicted the unemployment rate in the state will rise to over 11%, and the Engineering Employers Association has said that jobs will not be replaced once economic recovery begins.
This situation has led many young people to mistrust the politicians and the parties representing them. In a recent survey conducted by the Advertiser, 59% of teenagers surveyed answered a question whether John Bannon or opposition leader Dale Baker would make a better premier as "neither" or "don't know".