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Unemployment down to 8.7% in August: 39,000 more jobs but a much larger 162,000 Australians have stopped looking

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 394,071 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – August 2014 and includes 4,283 to-face interviews in August 2014.

The Australian workforce has fallen to an 18 month low after Employment Minister Eric Abetz suggested unemployed Australians must apply for ’40 jobs per month’.

In August 2014:

  • 12,205,000 Australians are in the workforce; (the lowest since January 2013): (down 162,000 since last month July; down 172,000 since August last year);
  • 11,141,000 Australians are employed: (up 39,000 since last month July; but up only 15,000 since August last year);
  • 1,064,000 Australians are looking for work (8.7% of the workforce); (the lowest since May 2012): (down 201,000 since last month July; down 187,000 since August last year);
  • 7,447,000 Australians are employed full-time: (up 94,000 since last month July; but up only 7,000 since August last year);
  • 3,694,000 Australians are employed part-time: (down 55,000 since last month July; but up 8,000 since August last year);
  • 1,080,000 Australians are under-employed (working part-time and looking for more hours – 8.8%): (up 1,000 since last month July; up 74,000 since August last year).
  • 2,144,000 Australians are unemployed or under-employed (17.6% of the workforce); (the lowest since May 2013); (down a large 200,000 since last month July; down 113,000 since August last year);
  • After this month’s fall the latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate of 8.7% is now only 2.3% higher than the figure currently quoted by the ABS for July 2014 (6.4%). This is the closest the two surveys have been for over three years since June 2011 (Roy Morgan 7.0% cf. ABS 4.9%).

 

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

%

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

Apr-Jun 2014

2,360

18.9

1,273

10.2

638

635

1,087

8.7

Months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

June 2014

2,514

20.1

1,326

10.6

684

642

1,188

9.5

July 2014

2,344

18.9

1,265

10.2

654

611

1,079

8.7

August 2014

2,144

17.6

1,064

8.7

516

548

1,080

8.8

*Workforce includes those employed and those looking for work – the unemployed. **The Roy Morgan employment estimates for May 2014 and going forward 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 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:

“For the second straight month there was a substantial contraction in the Australian workforce (12,205,000 down 162,000). This is the lowest the Australian workforce has been since January 2013 (12,139,000). With the smaller workforce in August Australian unemployment fell to a two-year low of 1.064 million Australians (8.7%, down 1.5% since July) and under-employment was virtually unchanged at 1.08 million (8.8%, up 0.1%). These figures show conclusively that the fall in unemployment has been driven more by a contracting workforce than the creation of new jobs.

“Looking closely at the figures shows the decline in the workforce (as people stop looking for work) was driven by unemployed Australians leaving the workforce – now 1,064,000 Australians are unemployed (down 201,000), while overall employment rose by only 39,000 to 11,141,000. Full-time employment rose to 7,447,000 (up 94,000) but part-time employment fell to 3,694,000 (down 55,000).

“The overall picture of the Australian labour market still shows an economy with a large amount of under-utilised labour – now 2.14 million Australians (17.6%) are either unemployed or under-employed. This is the 33rd straight month more than 2 million Australians have been looking for work or looking for more work and the 27th straight month more than 1 million Australians have been unemployed.

“Employment Minister Eric Abetz’s suggestion in late July that unemployed Australians should have to apply for one job in the morning and one in the afternoon (40 jobs per month) to continue receiving Government benefits appears to have had a direct impact by discouraging unemployed Australians from even looking for work. Scaring Australians out of even looking for work is not what the Abbott Government should be aiming for. The Government should seek to provide a healthy and growing economy and work to increase labour market productivity as the best way to entice Australians who have ‘given up’ looking for a job back into the labour force to find gainful employment.”

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 394,071 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – August 2014 and includes 4,283 to-face interviews in August 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: 

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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 Australian Unemployment - August 2014 - 8.7%

Roy Morgan Australian Unemployment - August 2014 - 8.7%

Roy Morgan Australian Unemployment & Under-employment - August 2014 - 17.6%


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.