Unemployment rate edges up as participation falls

WA’s unemployment rate has ticked up again after two months of decline, rising to 3.9% in April.

While a considerable rise from 3.4% in March, this is still below the national reading of 4.1% and remains the second lowest in the nation, behind only the ACT.  

This uptick was driven by an increase in the number of people unemployed combined with a fall in the size of the labour force. However, with more people than usual indicating they had a job they were waiting to start, it’s likely the unemployment rate will drop again when the next set of data is released in June.  

Wage growth looks to have peaked  

Wage growth may have finally peaked, with the latest Wage Price Index data revealing wages grew 4.2% over the year to March. While still solid, this is down from the 4.7% recorded in December but remains slightly higher than the 4.1% recorded nationally.

With wages growth remaining above the rate of inflation, WA workers have now experienced a return to annual real wages growth for two consecutive quarters, a welcome development given the cost-of-living pressures still facing many households.  

Federal Budget records second consecutive surplus 

The Federal Budget was handed down last week, with a surplus of $9.3 billion forecast for 2023-24. This is the Government’s second consecutive surplus, although the last for the foreseeable future — a $28.3b deficit is forecast for 2024-25 and further deficits are expected in the remaining outyears.

READ MORE: Manufacturing investment, tax breaks highlights in Federal Budget

Economic forecasts reveal the Government has downgraded its expectations for GDP growth over 2024-25, now expecting the economy to grow 2.0%. However, it is optimistic that inflation is under control, suggesting it could return to target by the end of this year.  

 

CCIWA’s Economic reports are available exclusively to CCIWA Complete, Advantage and Corporate Members. For more see CCIWA’s Economic Insight page.   

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