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Australian August real unemployment 9.2% – up for first time in 6 months

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 447,758 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – August 2015 and includes 4,883 face-to-face interviews in August 2015.
In August 2015 Roy Morgan Unemployment is up 0.5% from July and a year ago to 9.2%:

  • 12,751,000 Australians are in the workforce (up 546,000 since August 2014) and 11,578,000 Australians are employed (up a large 437,000 since August 2014 – and a new record high);
  • 7,747,000 Australians are employed full-time (up a large 300,000 since August 2014);
  • 3,831,000 Australians are employed part-time (up 137,000 since August 2014);
  • 1,173,000 Australians are looking for work: 9.2% of the workforce – up 76,000 in the last month (0.5%) and up 109,000 (0.5%) since August 2014;
  • 944,000 Australians are under-employed -  working part-time and looking for more hours: 7.4% of the workforce (the lowest since March 2013) – down 136,000 (or 1.4%) since August 2014;
  • 2,117,000 Australians are unemployed or under-employed: 16.6% of the workforce – down 27,000 (down 1%) since August 2014.
  • This month’s increase from 8.7% to 9.2% means the latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate is a substantial 2.9% higher than the figure currently quoted by the ABS for July 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

Apr-Jun 2015

2,359

18.7

1,263

10.0

618

645

1,096

8.7

Months

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

April 2015

2,446

19.4

1,309

10.4

656

653

1,137

9.0

May 2015

2,310

18.5

1,289

10.3

646

643

1,021

8.2

June 2015

2,321

18.2

1,192

9.3

552

640

1,129

8.9

July 2015

2,074

16.4

1,097

8.7

525

572

977

7.7

August 2015

2,117

16.6

1,173

9.2

548

625

944

7.4

*Workforce includes those employed and those looking for work – the unemployed.

Gary Morgan says:

“Australian employment has increased to a new record in August to 11,578,000 (up a large 437,000 since August 2014). The strong rise in employment has been led by a large increase in full-time employment over the past year to 7,747,000 (up 300,000) and a strong increase in part-time employment to 3,831,000 (up 137,000),according to today’s Roy Morgan August employment estimates.

“However, despite the strong rise in Australian employment over the past year an increasing workforce means unemployment has also increased – now at 9.2% (up 0.5% in the last month and from a year ago). August is the first month unemployment has increased in Australia since February 2015. Australia’s under-employment rate of 7.4% is down 1.4% from a year ago.

“Roy Morgan unemployment data shows that as the number of jobs increases more people begin looking for work. This clearly shows the pent-up demand for employment and the extent to which Australia’s labour market is under-estimated by the ABS.

Today’s estimates mean total Australian unemployment and under-employment has increased to 2.12 million (16.6% of the workforce). Australian unemployment and under-employment has now been above 2 million Australians for 45 straight months – nearly four years!

“The 7-Eleven Stores and now United Petroleum scandals confirm what we at Roy Morgan have been saying for years about the ‘cash economy’ – it must be stopped by the Federal Government.

“New South Wales Premier Mike Baird is now promoting an increase in the GST and Treasurer Joe Hockey is saying that taxes can be cut – but, these reforms can only be made if the ‘cash economy’ is tackled.

“A few years ago I asked Opposition Leader Bill Shorten if he would tackle the ‘cash economy’, Shorten’s answer – ‘too hard’! (Shorten was Employment and Workplace Relations Minister during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments).

“Recently I asked Treasurer Joe Hockey the same question at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Business Leaders’ Summit.  Hockey avoided the question and spoke to his talking points! See below transcript of our ‘question and answer‘ exchange.

“It’s not just the retail workers at 7-Eleven and United Petroleum that 'live in’ the ‘cash economy’ – there are also the hundreds of thousands of Australians in hospitality, retail, trades, building and the like.

“Some politicians have confirmed to me personally that they’ve used the ‘cash economy’ by receiving lower quotes from tradesman for work on their homes.

“Obviously the only viable solution to deal with cash ‘rorts’ is to declare an amnesty and allow the economy to start afresh – taxes can be cut without putting up the GST.

“Unfortunately the issues created by Australia’s large ‘cash economy’ are ignored by politicians and the Fair Work Judiciary – many of whom have reached their current positions following careers and close associations with the unions and the ALP.

“As we’ve stated recently the recent draft Productivity Commission Report is incomplete and essentially irrelevant as it ignores the ‘cash economy’ and relies on the inaccurate ABS unemployment figures in drawing its conclusions – Productivity Commission Workplace reform conclusions softened by reliance on inaccurate employment data – Monday August 17, 2015.

“It defies belief that any Government would consider making changes to workplace laws without having reliable figures, and a proper understanding of both the actual numbers of unemployed and under-employed people and the size and operation of the cash economy.

“In addition, the conclusions from the National Reform Summit sponsored by Fairfax (AFR) & News Corp (The Australian) are just as irrelevant as it focused on tax reform whilst also completely ignoring the ‘cash economy’ and the true unemployment and under employment figures.”


Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Leaders’ Summit

Canberra, Monday August 17, 2015.

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan Research:

“Mr Treasurer, I read the Productivity Commission Report and I brought out a paper on it today, I’m Gary Morgan.

“Firstly you took (used in the draft Productivity Commission Report) the ABS unemployment figures (6.3% in July 2015), you didn’t refer to our (Roy Morgan) figures which showed there was significantly higher unemployment (8.7% in July 2015) than the ABS showed. And that’s a fact.

“The second issue is, you only once referred to the ‘cash economy’, you had nothing to say about the ‘cash economy’. In my opinion the only economy that is booming in this country is the ‘cash economy’. What are you going to do about it?”


Treasurer, Joe Hockey:

“Well if it’s a ‘cash economy’ Gary, and it’s a good question, I have a great deal of respect for you Gary, as a pollster. If it’s the ‘cash economy’ that is booming and in your words nothing else is, then I’m not sure how we continue to get economic growth. There must be economic growth there and of course economic growth doesn’t measure the ‘cash economy’. But I’d say to you this, I am confident in the momentum in the Australian economy. I am absolutely confident in that. And I want to emphasise to all of you, I am in constant dialogue with Finance Ministers and leaders overseas, the head of the IMF or the World Bank or others, and at the same time dealing with on a regular basis the leaders in China. Our biggest trading partner is going to continue to grow, China. It is going through a transition, but they say seven per cent, when they say seven per cent it’ll be seven per cent...”


Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan Research:

“They (China) put the cash tax avoiders in jail, that’s the difference, we don’t.”


Treasurer, Joe Hockey:

“Well, they do put a lot of people in jail, but I’m not really for putting entrepreneurs in jail. I must say someone in the leadership in China when I referred to the fact that Alibaba was one of the great modern success stories, listed for $200 billion on the New York Stock Exchange, the biggest IPO, and its role is to facilitate the growth of small and medium sized enterprises out of China. When I said that to one of my good friends over there he pointed out they don’t pay tax in China. So there are multiple - and I wouldn’t call it a cash business really – but I’d say to you there are multiple challenges for us, but all of them are beatable, nothing is insurmountable, and the Australian economy will get better and there will be greater prosperity, and we will get the unemployment rate down. We’re going to get the numbers down and we’re going to see more jobs created in Australia.”

Transcript Link: http://jbh.ministers.treasury.gov.au/transcript/167-2015


This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 447,758 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – August 2015 and includes 4,883 face-to-face interviews in August 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

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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 Monthly Unemployment Estimate - August 2015 - 9.2%

Roy Morgan Unemployment - June Quarter 2015 - 10.0%

Roy Morgan Monthly Unemployment & Under-employment Estimate - August 2015 - 16.6%


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.