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Australian real unemployment still ‘stuck’ well above 10% in March

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 424,961 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – March 2015 and includes 4,813 face-to-face interviews in March 2015.
In March 2015 Roy Morgan Unemployment is 10.8%:

  • 12,670,000 Australians are in the workforce (up 75,000 since March 2014);
  • 11,302,000 Australians are employed (up 172,000 since March 2014);
  • 7,586,000 Australians are employed full-time (up 222,000 since March 2014;
  • 3,716,000 Australians are employed part-time (down 50,000 since March 2014);
  • 1,368,000 Australians are looking for work (10.8% of the workforce), down 97,000 since March 2014);
  • 976,000 Australians are under-employed, working part-time and looking for more hours – (7.7% of the workforce), up 31,000 since March 2014;
  • 2,344,000 Australians are unemployed or under-employed – (18.5% of the workforce), down 66,000 since March 2014.
  • Despite this month’s decrease the latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate of 10.8% is still a substantial 4.5% higher than the figure currently quoted by the ABS for February 2015 (6.3%).

Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimate

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2014

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

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

Jul-Sep 2014

2,237

18.2

1,179

9.6

594

585

1,058

8.6

Oct-Dec 2014

2,449

19.6

1,251

10.0

559

692

1,198

9.6

2015

Jan-Mar 2015

2,384

18.9

1,327

10.5

656

672

1,057

8.4

Months

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

September 2014

2,223

18.2

1,208

9.9

613

595

1,015

8.3

October 2014

2,207

18.4

1,090

9.1

461

629

1,117

9.3

November 2014

2,491

19.7

1,260

10.0

564

696

1,231

9.7

December 2014

2,648

20.6

1,402

10.9

653

749

1,246

9.7

January 2015

2,266

18.0

1,233

9.8

635

598

1,033

8.2

February 2015

2,542

20.3

1,381

11.0

590

791

1,161

9.3

March 2015

2,344

18.5

1,368

10.8

742

626

976

7.7

*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:

“Today’s Roy Morgan employment estimates contain some positive indicators with Australia’s total employment in March increasing over the past year to 11,302,000 (up 172,000). Driving the increase in employment was a strong increase in full-time employment to 7,586,000 (up 222,000) while part-time employment fell to 3,716,000 (down 50,000).

“The rise in employment over the past year has been echoed by a fall in unemployment to 1,368,000 (down 97,000) – although still far too high at 10.8% while under-employment increased to 976,000 (up 31,000) over the same period – now at 7.7%. This is a total of 2.34 million Australians (18.5%) who are either unemployed or under-employed.

“Although unemployment has fallen slightly from a year ago – it is still far higher than usual. The first few months of last year saw a pronounced spike in Australian unemployment. Unemployment in February 2014 reached 12.3% - a twenty year high. Today’s estimates mean total Australian unemployment and under-employment has now been above 2 million Australians for 40 straight months.

“Earlier this week the RBA once again failed to follow up its February rate cut with a further cut in Australian interest rates (now at 2.25%) – perhaps waiting to see what Treasurer Joe Hockey’s second Federal Budget delivers in just over a month’s time. In a real sense the Australian economy needs far more than just interest rate cuts to regain competitiveness and provide a strong platform for growth.

“Hockey is currently working on his second Federal Budget as the long-running commodities boom has ended. Australia’s largest export earner, iron ore, is now trading well below $50 US a tonne – down nearly 75% from its price of almost $200 US per tonne four years ago and down from around $135 US per tonne (down over 60%) when the Abbott Government was elected in September 2013. Despite these worries, there is good news for the Government this month with Roy Morgan Business Confidence rising 6.3% (up 6.7pts) to 112.4 in March – now 55% (up 5%) of businesses say the next 12 months will be a ‘good time to invest in growing the business’.

“To prosper and grow strongly into the future despite the end of the commodities boom the Australian economy needs comprehensive labour market de-regulation that will allow the well over 2 million Australians looking for further employment to find jobs in a healthily growing economy. The recently elected Victorian Labor Government has shown what happens when Government puts up award wages (for the Easter holiday period) – most shops were closed, tourists were disappointed and thousands of workers received no pay.

“To stand any chance of re-election at next year’s Federal Election the Coalition Government must undertake tough reforms now that ‘free up’ the Australian labour market and offer real hope to the millions of Australians looking for work.  A first measure should be the abolition of weekend and public holiday penalty rates – the recent experience in Victoria shows these penalty rates lead directly to higher levels of unemployment and under-employment."


This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 424,961 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – March 2015 and includes 4,813 face-to-face interviews in March 2015.

*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 (2001-2015)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2015)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2015)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2015)

Roy Morgan March Unemployment Estimate - 10.8%

Roy Morgan March Unemployment Estimate - 10.8%

Roy Morgan March Unemployment Estimate - 10.8%


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.