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Calls for a further SA stimulus package as extent of jobs crisis becomes clearer

The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) today released analysis of the ABS April jobs data which reveals a much larger job crisis facing South Australia. In response, SACOSS is calling for another state stimulus package in addition to the measures announced in the Marshall Government’s $650m Jobs Rescue Package which was released in late March.

Last week’s ABS headline Labour Force data showed that 40,800 jobs had been lost in South Australia between March and April, and unemployment had risen to 7.2% (the highest in the country). However, SACOSS can now reveal that:

  • Of the 40,800 job losses in South Australia between March and April, 5,600 went to the unemployment line, while 35,200 (86%) simply dropped out of the labour force;
  • If those 35,000 had remained in workforce, then the Unemployment Rate would be 10.8% (not 7.2%).

The underemployment rate, which is now at 17%, is also a big concern and there are a range of gender challenges in the data (see SACOSS Briefing Note). 

In total, the real employment challenge facing South Australia in April is:
•    62,900 unemployed
•    138,100 underemployed
•    35,200 recently dropped out of labour force.

That is, 236,200 South Australians looking for work or more hours work.

SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said,
“With nearly a quarter of million South Australians looking for work or more hours of work, action is needed urgently and so we are calling on the Marshall Government to talk to key social and economic stakeholders to develop an additional stimulus package to drive economic recovery.”

“SACOSS will be putting a package of ideas to government in the next few weeks, but we can’t simply hope that the economy and employment will simply recover once we can open the doors again after coronavirus. It won’t be safe to open all those doors for a while, and the recovery will take time. It will take even longer without effective stimulus policies.”

“SACOSS has already highlighted the importance of tax reform for economic reconstruction, but we will also need government deficit spending to get people back to work. Governments often look to big infrastructure projects for stimulus, but we will also need to look at investing in people and in projects which directly assist those who have been most affected by this crisis. For instance, the digital connectivity envisaged in the SA Infrastructure Plan won’t mean much if people can’t afford or don’t know how to use digital technology.”

Download the SACOSS Briefing Note on the April Labour Force data here and here.


For further information/comment, contact:
Ross Womersley SACOSS CEO 0418 805 426
Tania Baxter SACOSS Communications Coordinator 0432 902 105

Published Date: 
Monday, 1 June 2020