Justice, Opportunity and Shared Wealth for all South Australians

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Growing SA unemployment highlights need to extend JobKeeper and JobSeeker

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in SA with today’s figures showing a whopping 200,000 South Australians now out of work or looking for more work.

SACOSS in response is calling on the Federal Government to maintain and extend vital coronavirus supports, and is also asking those who haven’t taken a financial hit to consider doing their part by donating to local charities.

“Before Covid-19 SA was top of the unemployment table and we remain there. We are 
also close to having the highest rate of underemployment in the nation.” says Ross Womersley, SACOSS CEO.

“Today’s ABS figures reflect the widespread growth in hardship we are hearing about, expressed in the numbers of people seeking help from charities and community services.”

“Rebuilding the economy in the wake of this crisis will take time, and we ask the Federal Government to acknowledge the deep impacts of coronavirus, particularly in South Australia, and to maintain and extend the Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments.”

“We cannot go back to the appallingly low rates of JobSeeker/Newstart that we had before this crisis.”

“People who are getting no income support right must also now urgently be brought in.”

“But we also know from the SACOSS Cost of Living Report last week that some households are likely to be financially better off during the current crisis, including those working extra hours, or simply maintaining their incomes but with lower living costs,” 

“While these households are undoubtedly under significant non-economic stress, we’re calling on those who are not financially impacted to give extra money to charities who are helping those who have been hit hardest”.

“As important is the fact that we now have more than 200,000 people whose circumstances mean they are going to be struggling financially. There’s clearly a role for the State Government to immediately increase the number of free financial counsellors available to ensure these people get the guidance and advice they will need to manage on vastly reduced incomes.”

Background information

ABS Labour Force Data for April 2020 (Seasonally adjusted)

Job losses in SA since March: 40,800

SA unemployment rate: 62,900 people = 7.2 %
This is up from 6.3% in March, but is still highest in the country

SA underemployed (employed but looking for more work): 138,100 people = 17% 
This was a huge increase of 43,200 people, taking the rate up from 11.2%

Combined, this means that 200,000 South Australians are now out of work or looking for more work.


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

Published Date: 
Thursday, 14 May 2020