View Comments
WA youth unemployment crisis
Hard times: Job seekers look for work. Picture: Megan Powell/The West Australian

Youth unemployment in WA has hit crisis levels, experts say, with the average rate in some problem areas hitting double figures.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed that though the Statewide average remained the lowest in the nation at 9.7 per cent, certain "hotspots" had much higher rates of unemployed 15-24- year-olds.

In the Mandurah region, which includes Falcon, Dawesville and Pinjarra, the rate was 17.3 per cent in the year to January - one of the worse in the nation.

The WA outback region, which covers regional hubs including Geraldton, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie, had the State's second-highest unemployment rate at 12.9 per cent, followed by the South-West Perth region, which encompasses Fremantle, Manning and Spearwood at 11.7 per cent.

The executive director of advocacy group the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Tony Nicholson, said the figures were alarming.

"It's a disaster for our young people who want to work but are getting locked out of the workforce and locked into welfare dependency because they have no choice," Mr Nicholson said.

"It's a disaster for communities, leading to more homelessness and despair for young people and their families."

He said youth unemployment was an issue that affected the economy as a whole and all taxpayers would ultimately pay the price.

The Brotherhood is launching its campaign My Chance, Our Future today to put youth unemployment in the spotlight.