Wyatt Claims More Returning to Work Despite Rise in Jobless Rate

The State Government has rejected a rise in WA’s unemployment rate, claiming more people are looking for work as the state’s economy recovered.

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt said that there had been employment growth despite the increasing unemployment rate and more people were returning to work as the government’s budget measures improved its finances.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed on Thursday that WA’s jobless rate rose from 5.7 in October to 6.5 per cent last month, the highest in Australia.

WA’s rise in unemployment came despite the state creating 4000 full time jobs in November, while 14,000 Western Australians joined the job market.

The revelation also came as the State Government announced its mid-year review that projected a $1.03 billion surplus in the next financial year.

The surplus will be the first one in six years for WA.

Mr Wyatt said that rising unemployment was expected as people looked for work.

“We’re expecting the employment rate to increase,” he said.

“We’re expecting the unemployment rate to increase slightly as well and that’s because Western Australians are now looking for more work.”

“We had a very large increase in our participation rate, the largest increase in some 12 months,” Mr Wyatt said.

He claimed jobs were being created contrary to the figures.

“We’re seeing that continuing indeed in the November results from the ABS highlighting another 4000 jobs just last month,” Mr Wyatt said.

However, Opposition Leader Mike Nahan had criticised the mid-year review that McGowan government’s budget-saving strategy was a success, claiming that Western Australians were still struggling.

He claimed the state’s unemployment rate was one result of the government’s strategy.

“Western Australia’s unemployment rate is now the highest in the nation,” Mr Nahan said.

He blamed the government’s measures for costing jobs.

“A particularly sharp reduction in part-time employment in Western Australia due in large part I think to the reductions in shopping hours that the McGowan government put on just a few weeks ago,” he said.

However, Mr Wyatt said jobs were being created.

“Some nearly 50,000 jobs have been created since the election,” he said.

“We’re seeing that continuing indeed in the November results from the ABS highlighting another 4,000 jobs created just last month.”

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