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Australian Unemployment down 0.7% to 9.7% in May - lowest since June 2013; but Australian labour force participation rate falls to 63.6% (down 1.6%)

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 380,299 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – May 2014 and includes 4,181 to-face interviews in May 2014.

In May 2014 an estimated 1.186 million Australians (9.7% of the workforce) were unemployed. May unemployment is down 0.7% from last month, however compared to the same time last year unemployment is up 0.2%.

The Australian workforce* was 12,226,000 comprising 7,504,000 full-time workers; 3,536,000 part-time workers; and 1,186,000 looking for work according to the Roy Morgan monthly employment estimates. The Roy Morgan employment and unemployment figures do not include people who have dropped out of the workforce and given up looking for work.

Among those who were employed 993,000 Australians (8.1% of the workforce*) were under-employed, i.e. working part-time and looking for more work. This is down 0.5% from a month ago, but up 0.3% compared to the same time a year ago.

In May in total an estimated 2.179 million Australians (17.8% of the workforce) were unemployed or under-employed. This is down 1.2% from April but up 0.5% higher than in May 2013.

The latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate of 9.7% is a substantial 3.9% higher than the figure currently quoted by the ABS for April 2014 (5.8%).

Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2013

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

Jan–Mar 2013

2,391

19.2

1,352

10.9

703

649

1,039

8.3

Apr–Jun 2013

2,243

18.1

1,176

9.5

588

587

1,067

8.6

Jul–Sep 2013

2,314

18.5

1,272

10.2

618

654

1,042

8.3

Oct–Dec 2013

2,439

19.5

1,337

10.7

734

603

1,102

8.8

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan-Mar 2014

2,532

20.0

1,489

11.7

844

645

1,043

8.2

Months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2013

2,254

18.1

1,154

9.3

508

646

1,100

8.8

May 2013

2,129

17.3

1,168

9.5

629

539

961

7.8

June 2013

2,346

18.9

1,205

9.7

628

577

1,141

9.2

July 2013

2,398

19.1

1,267

10.1

616

651

1,131

9.0

August 2013

2,257

18.2

1,251

10.1

631

620

1,006

8.1

September 2013

2,286

18.3

1,297

10.4

607

690

989

7.9

October 2013

2,410

19.3

1,333

10.7

726

607

1,077

8.6

November 2013

2,404

19.3

1,268

10.2

700

568

1,136

9.1

December 2013

2,503

19.8

1,411

11.2

777

634

1,092

8.6

January 2014

2,545

20.0

1,440

11.3

851

589

1,105

8.7

February 2014

2,641

20.8

1,561

12.3

866

695

1,080

8.5

March 2014

2,410

19.1

1,465

11.6

814

651

945

7.5

April 2014

2,387

18.9

1,308

10.4

628

680

1,079

8.5

April 2014**

2,374

19.0

1,299

10.4

629

670

1,074

8.6

May 2014

2,179

17.8

1,186

9.7

603

583

993

8.1

*Workforce includes those employed and those looking for work – the unemployed. **The Roy Morgan employment estimates for May 2014 are based to a lower estimate of the Australian population aged 14 or more (from 19,365,000 in the original April figures to 19,205,000 for the revised April figures and now at 19,232,000 in May). The lower Roy Morgan national population estimate is a result of ABS revisions after fully including the results of the most recent ABS Census.


Gary Morgan says:

“In May Australian unemployment fell for a third straight month to 1.186 million Australians (9.7%, down 0.7%). In further good news Australian under-employment fell to 993,000 Australians (8.1%, down 0.5%). Now a total of 2.18 million (17.8%) Australians are unemployed or under-employed – the lowest for a year since May 2013 (2.13 million Australians – 17.3%).

However, although the fall in unemployment and under-employment in May appears like good news, a key driver of the falls was a drop in the total Australian workforce as many people either stopped looking for work or lost their jobs. Both full-time employment (7,504,000) and part-time employment (3,536,000) fell and the total workforce decreased to 12,226,000 – the lowest total workforce since January 2013 (12,139,000).

“The fall in the total workforce means Australia’s participation rate fell to 63.6% in May (down 1.6% since April). Australia’s participation rate is now at its lowest for nearly three years, since July 2011 (63.0%). The fall in the participation rate is a trend that has also been seen in the United States. Although official US unemployment has fallen to 6.3% in April 2014, the US participation rate has fallen to 62.8% - the lowest US participation rate since 1979.

“The fall in the May unemployment estimate continues the general trend evident in the Roy Morgan March and April employment estimates and shows that despite many of the headlines in recent months, Australian unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in a year. Although the trend for unemployment is in the right direction – this is the first time Australian unemployment has fallen for three straight months since May 2011 – there are clearly additional reforms to the labour market required to increase the flexibility and productivity of the Australian labour force.

“The measures outlined in the Federal Budget that aim to reduce welfare dependency for unemployed Australians under 30 by forcing young jobseekers to wait for up to six months before receiving unemployment benefits and also to ‘work for the dole’ for at least 25 hours a week to receive unemployment benefits are a step in the right direction – but the biggest driver of employment growth is a healthy and growing economy.

“By stimulating the Australian economy through targeted tax reform and in turn reducing the still high level of unemployment and under-employment (2.18 million Australians) the Abbott Government will also achieve another policy aim by reducing and eventually eliminating Australia’s Federal Budget deficit.

“If urgent reforms to increase workplace productivity are not undertaken – including eliminating excessive penalty rates for weekend work – there will be further job losses in the future. Failure to implement labour productivity reforms will in turn undermine confidence in the economy (ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence has already fallen from a mid-April high of 116.1 to a five year low of 99.3 on the weekend of May 24/25, 2014) and will ultimately be a major factor in the Abbott Government losing the next Federal Election.”

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 380,299 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – May 2014 and includes 4,181 to-face interviews in May 2014.

*The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or consultants who are looking for more work. (Unfortunately the ABS does not release this figure in their monthly unemployment survey results.)

For further information:

Contact

Office

Mobile

Gary Morgan:     

+61 3 9224 5213  

+61 411 129 094

Michele Levine:       

+61 3 9224 5215  

+61 411 129 093


Unemployment Data Tables

Roy Morgan Research Employment Estimates (2001-2014)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2014)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2014)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2014)


Roy Morgan Monthly Unemployment Estimate - May 2014 - 9.7%

Roy Morgan Quarterly Unemployment Estimate - March Quarter 2014

Roy Morgan Monthly Under-employment Estimate - May 2014 - 17.8%


ROY MORGAN MEASURES REAL UNEMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA

NOT THE ‘PERCEPTION’ OF UNEMPLOYMENT – JUNE 8, 2012

http://www.roymorgan.com/~/media/Files/Papers/2012/20120603.pdf

The Roy Morgan Unemployment estimate is obtained by surveying an Australia-wide cross section by face-to-face interviews. A person is classified as unemployed if they are looking for work, no matter when.

The results are not seasonally adjusted and provide an accurate measure of monthly unemployment estimates in Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Unemployment estimates are obtained by mostly telephone interviews. Households selected for the ABS Survey are interviewed each month for eight months, with one-eighth of the sample being replaced each month. The first interview is conducted face-to-face. Subsequent interviews are then conducted by telephone.

The ABS classifies a person as unemployed if, when surveyed, they have been actively looking for work in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and if they were available for work in the reference week.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Unemployment estimates are also seasonally adjusted.

For these reasons the Australian Bureau of Statistics Unemployment estimates are different from the Roy Morgan Unemployment estimate. Gary Morgan's concerns regarding the ABS Unemployment estimate is clearly outlined in his letter to the Australian Financial Review, which was not published.