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Australian unemployment jumps to 11%

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 476,035 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – March 2016 and includes 3,997 face-to-face interviews in March 2016.
This month’s unemployment has risen 1% to 11% - now at its highest since February 2015 and 5.2% higher than the current ABS figure for February 2016 (5.8%). This is the first time the Roy Morgan unemployment rate has increased in February for over a decade – since March 2005. Moreover, 2.433 million Australians (18.8% of the workforce) are either unemployed or under-employed.

  • There are 12,944,000 Australians in the workforce in March, down 230,000, from a month ago (although up 274,000 since March 2015) and 11,522,000 Australians are employed (up 220,000 since March 2015) – although most of the increase in employment comes from part-time employment;

  • Now 7,604,000 Australians are employed full-time – up 18,000 since March 2015 and  3,918,000 Australians (up 202,000) are part-time workers;

  • Now a high 11.0% of the workforce, 1,422,000 people, are unemployed – up 54,000 since March 2015 with the unemployment rate up 0.2% in a year while 1,011,000 Australians are under-employed – working part-time and looking for more hours: 7.8% of the workforce – up 35,000 (up 0.1%);

  • Now 2,433,000 Australians are unemployed or under-employed: a massive 18.8% of the workforce – up 89,000 (up 0.3%) since March 2015.

Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimate

Unemployed or
‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2015

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

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

Jul-Sep 2015

2,061

16.2

1,109

8.7

518

591

952

7.5

Oct-Dec 2015

2,475

19.2

1,184

9.2

603

581

1,291

10.0

2016

Jan-Mar 2016

2,496

19.1

1,362

10.4

639

723

1,134

8.7

Months

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

September 2015

1,994

15.6

1,058

8.3

482

576

936

7.3

October 2015

2,198

17.4

1,110

8.8

464

646

1,088

8.6

November 2015

2,536

19.6

1,186

9.2

623

563

1,350

10.4

December 2015

2,690

20.7

1,256

9.7

722

534

1,434

11.0

January 2016

2,575

19.7

1,346

10.3

696

650

1,229

9.4

February 2016

2,480

18.8

1,319

10.0

589

730

1,161

8.8

March 2016

2,433

18.8

1,422

11.0

631

791

1,011

7.8

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

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In March Australia’s real unemployment increased to 11.0% (1.422 million people looking for work, 54,000 more than a year ago) and under-employment increased to 7.8% (1.011 million, up 35,000) – a total of 18.8% (2.433 million) Australians looking for work or looking for more work.

“This is the first time the Roy Morgan unemployment rate has increased in March for more than a decade since March 2005. It is the highest rate of unemployment for more than a year since February 2015 (11.0%, 1.381 million); and the highest overall number of unemployed for two years since March 2014 (1.465 million).

“Over the past year full-time employment 7,604,000 (up 18,000) has barely changed whilst part-time employment 3,918,000 (up 202,000) has increased strongly. Today’s figures show that although Australia’s economy is rebalancing slowly following the end of the mining boom there is more work required to ensure the Australian economy grows strongly in the years ahead.

“The troubles facing the Australian economy are illustrated clearly this week with the announcement iron ore miner and steelmaker Arrium (formerly part of BHP and spun out of BHP as OneSteel) has entered voluntary administration. As many as 10,000 jobs around Australia are now in jeopardy as Arrium struggles to repay up to $2.8 billion in debt.

“Arrium employs more than 1,000 people in the South Australian regional town of Whyalla out of a total population of 22,000. The closure of the Whyalla steelworks would be a devastating blow for South Australia which also faces the closure of the Holden automotive manufacturing plant in 18 months and continuing uncertainty about whether submarine and ship-building in South Australia will continue contingent on new Government defence contracts.

“The dire situation facing Arrium follows the announcement by telecommunications company Optus this week that 500 employees face redundancy and comes after electronics retailer Dick Smith was forced into closure earlier this year and Woolworths announced the shutting down of its Masters home improvement outlet. These examples across different sectors of the Australian economy show the huge challenge facing whichever party wins this year’s Federal Election.

“The ongoing job losses throughout the Australian economy also provide clear evidence that the ABS unemployment figures released monthly lack credibility. ABS estimated unemployment of only 5.8% in February indicating a booming Australian economy which is also not reflected in other measures of economic activity.

“RP Data this week announced Capital city rental prices fell 0.2% over the past year, the first time in the 20 year history of the index to show a fall over a 12 month period while the latest ABS retail spending index data shows retail spending unchanged in February following a monthly rise of only 0.3% in January after also being unchanged in December 2015. A retail economy that has barely moved for three months is not indicative of the robust growth the ABS unemployment figures suggest.

“The major problem facing the Australian economy is that the Turnbull Government, like all Governments before them, continues to base their economic modelling on the wrong unemployment data and because of this they will fail to advocate the policy reforms that need to be undertaken to ‘free-up’ the Australian economy. Stimulating real growth in the Australian economy is the most effective way there is to create jobs for unemployed and under-employed Australians. In addition by continuing to use ‘wrong data’ there will be a large group of people (unemployed and under-employed) who will be disenfranchised and angry with the Government of the day.”


This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 476,035 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – March 2016 and includes 3,997 face-to-face interviews in March 2016.

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


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Unemployment Data Tables

Roy Morgan Research Employment Estimates (2001-2016)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2016)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2016)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2016)

Roy Morgan Unemployment Estimate - March 2016 - 11.0%

Roy Morgan Quarterly Unemployment - March Quarter 2016 - 10.4%

Roy Morgan Under-employment Estimate - March 2016 - 18.8%


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.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. The following table gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. The figures are approximate and for general guidance only, and assume a simple random sample. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

% Estimate

 

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2