Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    Encouraging signs for WA with an increase of 22,000 jobs in June

    16/07/2020 2:15 PM
    • ABS Labour Force data shows employment rose in Western Australia by 22,000 jobs in June
    • This is the second highest rise in employment on record and the highest since March 1993
    • Western Australia's response to COVID-19 and easing of restrictions is opening up businesses and getting people back to work  

    New data released today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows Western Australia is beginning to see an increase in jobs for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


    The ABS Labour Force report for June showed an increase of 22,000 jobs in Western Australia - the second highest monthly increase for jobs on record and the highest since March 1993.


    Encouragingly, after being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, women accounted for four out of five of those gaining employment in June, up a record 17,700.


    Due to the survey timeframes, the positive effects of the easing of restrictions in WA will take time to be fully reflected in the data.


    This report was prepared using survey information between May 31, 2020 to June 13, 2020, one week into Phase 3 easing of restrictions and before Phase 4 (June 27) came into effect.


    Phase 3 allowed between 100 and 300 patrons in restaurants and bars; the reopening of gyms, cinemas, theatres and beauty salons; as well as the removal of the remaining regional borders.


    In line with expectations, the report shows contradictory results with both employment and unemployment increasing.


    The rise in unemployment is underpinned by the obligation to look for work to receive JobSeeker resuming during the survey period (June 9), which means these people are now captured in the ABS data, where they had not been previously. 


    Other positive results from today's report include the underemployment rate for WA falling for the second consecutive month to 10.8 per cent in June, making WA the second lowest underemployment rate of the States.


    Young people have been some of the hardest hit during this pandemic, and today's data has shown some positive movement with the youth unemployment rate falling by one per cent to 15.2 per cent (now the third lowest in the country) and the number of youth employed rising strongly up 5.5 per cent.


    Job vacancies in Western Australia, a leading indicator of employment, have rebounded, with daily SEEK data showing that job advertisements are almost back to pre-COVID levels.


    Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:


    "Today's unemployment data is starting to demonstrate the changes in both State and Commonwealth policies, with an increase in the employment rate, but also an increase in the unemployment rate.


    "I expect over the next few months we will see slightly contradictory data of increasing employment and unemployment, as the Commonwealth make changes to JobSeeker and JobKeeper and the full benefits of WA's easing of restrictions are captured in these reports.


    "Today's data shows Western Australia recorded an increase of 22,000 jobs in June - the highest monthly increase since March 1993 and the second highest on record.


    "It's important to bear in mind this report only captures the early easing of restrictions in WA - it includes the impact of Phase 2 easing of restrictions but only one week of Phase 3, which is when gathering restrictions were significantly eased. 


    "Despite only capturing the early easing of restrictions, we're already seeing encouraging results, with a rise in employment and more women and youth coming back into the workforce.


    "As for the unemployment rate today, it's important to note that for the first time since the beginning of COVID-19 that people who are looking for work have been considered as unemployed in this data because obligations to look for work through JobSeeker have resumed.


    "We believe this is what has largely increased overall unemployment in the data today. 


    "We've always said the economic data will be highly volatile for some time and I expect we will continue to see volatile data over the coming months.


    "We recognise this data reflects how tough some Western Australians are doing as a result of COVID-19.


    "That's why we've so far invested more than $2.3 billion in COVID-19 stimulus and relief measures and why we will continue to target funding towards those who need it most."


    Treasurer's office - 6552 5900