Em­ploy­ment rate concern

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LOW con­sumer and busi­ness con­fi­dence is af­fect­ing the state’s un­em­ploy­ment rate, which re­mains above the na­tional av­er­age, says Busi­ness SA.

Its Sur­vey of Busi­ness Ex­pec­ta­tions for the March 2011 quar­ter re­veals the South Aus­tralian con­fi­dence in­dex de­creased by 3 per cent from the pre­vi­ous quar­ter to 92 points.

It is a turn­around from slight rises that oc­curred dur­ing the sec­ond half of 2010.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Vaughan says the econ­omy re­mains un­der pres­sure.

He says busi­nesses are con­cerned about the out­look, which af­fects their hir­ing ca­pa­bil­ity and in­ten­tions.

‘‘Al­most three quar­ters of re­spon­dents ex­pect labour costs to in­crease in the June quar­ter,’’ he says.

‘‘More than a quar­ter of re­spon­dents found skilled labour harder to source than the pre­vi­ous quar­ter, how­ever, nearly half ex­pect the un­em­ploy­ment rate to re­main steady in the June quar­ter.

‘‘Fol­low­ing re­cent nat­u­ral dev­as­ta­tions across the coun­try, de­mand for skilled labour will no doubt con­tinue in the months ahead.’’

He says over­head costs are in­creas­ing and ex­ports are down, which is af­fect­ing busi­ness bot­tom line.

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