Job losses among the highest in the State

Augusta Margaret River Times

Margaret River and Busselton have recorded some of the highest job losses in the State.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed an 8.5 per cent fall in payroll receipts in the South West since the pandemic hit, with WA’s overall rate just under 6 per cent.

The shocking news for the region’s economy was also reflected in JobSeeker figures released by Services Australia.

Exmouth and Cottesloe had WA’s highest surge in those seeking unemployment, followed by Busselton and Margaret River.

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Margaret River recorded 723 JobSeeker applications — a 133.2 per cent increase.

Busselton had 610 new applicants, increasing by 153.1 per cent.

Confirmation of the damage to local employment comes as the region battles wet weather, which might put a dampener on a rise in expected visitors since the South West border reopened last week.

According to Services Australia, nearly 41,000 West Australians joined the breadline last month and just short of 135,000 people arenow receiving the fortnightly $1100 JobSeeker payment in WA.

Demographer Bernard Salt said locations like Exmouth, Margaret River and Busselton were “cafe societies” that had been smashed by travel bans and closures.

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre director Alan Duncan said the employment prospects of young people were disproportionately affected by coronavirus restrictions with those job losses cutting across the socio-economic spectrum.

He said the “real” youth unemployment rate in WA was 22.2 per cent — the highest in the country, with nearly one in four people aged 24 or younger out of work.

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