Positivity can sweep state over jobs rise
BULLISH jobless figures unveiled yesterday can herald a new wave of optimism about South Australia’s economic future.
By any dispassionate analysis, the official labour force figures paint a picture which defies critiques of a rust-bucket or mendicant state.
Our state was among the top three enjoying the strongest annual growth in trend employment, with a 2.4 per cent rate. SA followed closely behind Queensland’s growth of 2.9 per cent and New South Wales’s 3.6 per cent.
In monthly terms, SA’s jobless rate had the equalbiggest drop, with Queensland, of 0.3 percentage points to 5.6 per cent. As a result, SA had the third-lowest unemployment rate of any state, in seasonally adjusted terms, behind New South Wales and Victoria.
This comes amid a historic global transformation in the manufacturing industry, which has been a bedrock of the SA economy since an industrialisation push spearheaded by longserving Liberal Country League Premier Sir Thomas Playford.
This tectonic shift in SA’s economy was epitomised by the closure in October last year of Holden’s Elizabeth factory – a venerated 123.86ha car plant founded in 1958 as a linchpin of Playford’s post-war growth drive.
That shutdown had been predicted to unleash a wave of surging unemployment.
At least thus far, SA has been enjoying the opposite.
Clearly, the March 17 state election was a good one for the Liberals to win – arguably the best in the state party’s history to win from Opposition. The economic climate is, clearly, far better than the last time the Liberals seized government in 1993, in the aftermath of the disastrous State Bank financial collapse in 1991.
Premier Steven Marshall now can work from a strong foundation, deploying a plan with apt themes of more jobs, lower costs and better services. While the previous Labor government deserves some credit, the challenge is ahead – to build and grow from an unaccustomed position of relative strength.