Western Australia has officially hit a half century on unemployment, with our State’s trend unemployment rate now higher than the national rate for 50 months in a row.

Despite WA’s unemployment rate dropping slightly in August to 5.8 per cent in trend terms, down 0.1 per cent, our State has persistently remained above the national rate. It is currently 0.5 per cent above the national rate of 5.3 per cent.

Youth unemployment remains a significant concern, with the youth unemployment rate rising by 1.9 per cent to 14.3 per cent – the third highest rate in the country and almost 3 per cent higher than the national rate.

There are 136,800 underemployed West Australians who want more work – up 2.1 per cent since July in trend terms – and almost 84,000 West Australians who want a job but can’t find one.

Thankfully, there has been some positive news in the job’s figures, with the total number of West Australians in employment increasing for the past seven months.

However, more needs to be done to create jobs in the State. CCI has consistently called on the State Government to take its hand out of the till of WA businesses and stop taxing them for no other reason than giving more West Australians a job.

Small businesses in WA employ more than 500,000 West Australians, which means supporting small businesses supports West Australians’ livelihoods.

WA still has the highest payroll tax burden – a literal tax on jobs– of any state in the nation, making it more expensive to create jobs here than anywhere else in Australia.

Every other state has understood the importance of reducing payroll tax so small businesses can hire more people. Earlier this year, Queensland increased its payroll tax threshold by $200,000 to $1.3 million at the same time that the WA Government knocked backed an opportunity to our unemployed and underemployed West Australians when it rejected payroll tax relief in the May Budget. 

CCI urges the Government to reduce the payroll tax burden for small business as a priority to boost job creation and reduce our State’s high unemployment rate.