Unemployment rate almost half that of two years ago

RETAIL: Port Pirie's shopping district will feel the benefits of reduced unemployment in the area.
RETAIL: Port Pirie's shopping district will feel the benefits of reduced unemployment in the area.

As the festive season gets into full swing, the city has had great news about the local economy.

Latest figures show the jobless rate is on a downward trend in Port Pirie.

The rate of 8.7 percent for the June quarter compares with a high of 15.9 percent in the December quarter of 2015. 

The latest series of quarters recorded a decrease in the rate.

Mayor John Rohde said the Employment Department data, through Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf, showed the rate was falling “dramatically”.

He said this, when combined with a newfound real estate upsurge in Port Pirie, suggested the city was in the midst of a “positive trend”.

The 15.9 percent figure was the highest since 2002 and subsequent quarters all recorded a decline in the rate.

The national unemployment rate is 5.7 percent. Port Pirie Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mark Hanlon said the results were “fantastic”, but better was yet to come.

“I think there is a fair bit of confidence going forward in what could happen, but that is not tomorrow – probably in the next 12 months to two years,” he said.

“The future is very, very bright. Those figures are fantastic news, but things will only get better as a result of the industries that develop in a snowballing effect from Nyrstar’s ‘transformation’.

“The jobs translate into trade. The economy is going to be stronger and more confidence will come back into the retail sector.”

The positive news of the decline in unemployment will boost consumer confidence as shoppers hit the stores before Christmas Day. Port Pirie received a boost from its booming real estate market.

In Peterborough, the jobless rate of 5.2 percent has fallen below the national average for the first time in at least 15 years.

This has sparked celebrations in the Mid North town after years of struggle in the wake of railways cutbacks.

But in Port Augusta, unemployment is trending upwards at 10.4 percent while Whyalla has also increased to the same level.

The total unemployed in the Upper Spencer Gulf cities has risen to 2477.

The jobless rate for this region is 9.9 percent.

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