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WA jobless figure nation's second-highest

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Greg Roberts

WA's jobless rate returned to decade highs of 6.3 per cent in July compared to 5.7 the previous month, in the latest negative economic sign for the state that was until recently the nation's strongest.

Western Australia now has the second-highest jobless rate in the country among the eight states and territories, with only South Australia faring worse, with its unemployment falling from 7.0 to 6.4 per cent.

The trends are not good for WA, which recorded its highest unemployment in a decade when it breached 6.0 per cent at the start of 2016, double where it was 10 years ago.

The figures are also flattered by the fact that the number of WA full-time jobs have been falling for nearly two years, meaning that the number of people in full-time jobs are at near five-year lows.

The recent Commsec State of the States report rated WA's current economic performance as seventh, ahead of only Tasmania, while job insecurity was the nation's highest in a report by Members Equity Bank earlier this month.

Australia's unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent in July was down from 5.8 per cent, but the increase in employment was all part-time jobs - up 71,600, compared with a fall of just over 45,400 full-time workers.

WA Labor Opposition leader Mark McGowan used the figures to attack the state Liberal National government's economic performance in negotiating the end of the mining boom.

"The unemployment situation in Western Australia is now dire with 61,000 additional West Australians out of work during the course of the Barnett Liberal National government. 61,000 hearts have been broken," he told reporters.

Mr McGowan has promised to create more than 50,000 jobs if elected next year, through guaranteeing minimum job quotas for locals on major infrastructure projects and diversifying the economy through investments in tourism and backing new industries and business start-ups.

WA Liberal Senator and federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said it was disappointing to see the state's unemployment rising but the economy was transitioning and had had to do so before.

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said monthly data was highly volatile and WA's annual average unemployment rate remained six per cent, the third lowest of all states.

"These results are not surprising given the transition we are currently experiencing and our budget forecast for 2016/17 of 6.75 per cent," he said.

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