As a resume and cover letter writer, I know the facts about the labour market. Here is research I did on the South Australian labour market. If you’re having trouble getting job interviews, it could be the resume but it could also be the local economy.
The monthly labour force figures are created from a survey of about 26,000 households across Australia.
It follows international conventions, created in the 1980s, which defined the unemployed as those people aged 15 years and over who are not employed during the week of the survey and, “had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week.”
So according to the definition, if you worked one hour per week in Adelaide, you were ‘employed’. If you worked one hour per week for one week during the survey week and were then fired, you were also employed.
Instead of attacking the problem of unemployment, the problem was defined away. No wonder people can’t get their heads around it.
Let us just focus on under-employment here for a minute. From April 2014, SA’s under-employment number bounced around the 70,000-90,000 mark. That is extraordinarily high.
In April of this year it exploded to 134,200 people. That’s your Covid-19 restrictions at work (or not at work).
Many of the jobs created in SA are casual, worked by females and they have been hit very hard.
Another under-reported category is the hidden unemployed. These are people who have been rejected by employers and have given up looking for work.
They may include the disabled, the young and older job seekers (45+) and Indigenous people. The disability support pension may also hide people over the age of 50 (but younger than the retirement age of 65), who would normally be classified as unemployed.
The hidden unemployed numbers exploded after the recession of the early 1990s. In Adelaide, I now put their number at around 30,000 people.
This is the big picture. While 40,000 South Australians lost their jobs (20,000 were fulltime) due to Covid-19, they joined the 56,000 Crow eaters who were already unemployed. That brings unemployment up to a whopping 96,000 people (approx).
But don’t forget the 134,200 people who are under-employed and who would like or need more work. Then add the 30,000 people who have dropped out of the workforce altogether.
There are about 850,000 people in the SA labour market but 260,000 of them are unemployed and under-employed and 30,000 have dropped out entirely.
In South Australia, that’s not a recession. That’s a full-blown Depression.