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WA October jobless rate nation's highest

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016

WA Premier Colin Barnett admits he's disappointed with unemployment figures showing more people are out of work in the state than anywhere else in the nation.

WA's jobless rate jumped from 6.1 per cent in September to 6.5 per cent last month, compared to the national rate of 5.6 per cent, which was steady.

In a rowdy question time on the final parliamentary sitting day of the year, the opposition said the figures illustrated years of economic mismanagement under the Liberals.

"The worst jobs crisis in WA history," Opposition Leader Mark McGowan declared.

Mr Barnett conceded the numbers were disappointing, and that state debt and deficit were far higher than he'd like, but he blamed the GST carve-up, defended heavy spending on infrastructure and services, and said the state's export-oriented economy had ridden "the Asian tiger".

"It's a ride we've got to have but it's a rough ride," he said.

"The cycles, they come up and they go down."

Groans were heard when WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said the economy was starting to show "green shoots'.

"Will the West Australian economy go back to its growth? Yes. You can see the signs now," Dr Nahan said.

"It's going to be erratic but do I think we're going to have continued improvement? Yes.

"I have confidence in Western Australia."

Dr Nahan favours annual unemployment figures over monthly numbers and on that basis, WA's rate of six per cent compares to the national annual average of 5.7 per cent

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