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Unemployment at 10% in July highest in nearly a year

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – July 2018. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

Despite solid jobs growth over the past year, the overall growth in the Australian workforce means unemployment has increased to 10% in July. As noted in previous months, part-time employment continues to grow at a faster rate than full-time employment.

The latest data for the Roy Morgan employment series for July shows:

  • 12,021,000 Australians were employed in July, up 167,000 over the past year;

  • The workforce which comprises employed and unemployed Australians is now 13,350,000, up 260,000 on a year ago;

  • 1,329,000 Australians were unemployed (10% of the workforce); an increase of 93,000 (up 0.6%) on a year ago and the highest level of unemployment for nearly a year since August 2017;

  • In addition 1,148,000 Australians (8.6% of the workforce) are now under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a fall of 78,000 in a year (down 0.8%);

  • The increase in employment was driven by an increase in both full-time employment which was up 66,000 to 7,765,000, and an even stronger increase in part-time employment up 101,000 to 4,256,000;

  • Roy Morgan’s real unemployment figure of 10% for July remains substantially higher than the current ABS estimate for June 2018 of 5.4%.
Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment - July 2018 - 18.6%
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – July 2018. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says total unemployment and under-employment is stuck above 2.4 million again in July despite solid jobs growth (up 167,000) over the last year:

“Today’s Roy Morgan employment estimates show real unemployment of 10% in July up 0.6% on a year ago with 1.33 million Australians unemployed. A further 1.15 million Australians (8.6%) are now under-employed meaning a total of 2.48 million Australians (18.6% of the workforce) are either looking for work or employed part-time and looking for more work.

“However, the high level of unemployment and under-employment isn’t because jobs aren’t being created, it’s because the workforce continues to grow at a faster rate than the growth in employment.

“Over the last year an extra 260,000 Australians entered the workforce, but only around two-thirds of these workers, or 167,000, managed to find jobs. The bulk of these jobs were part-time with part-time employment up 101,000 over the last 12 months and full-time employment increasing by 66,000.

“We have often referred to the increasing casualisation of the Australian workforce over the last two decades and this trend has strengthened in recent years with the rise of the so-called ‘gig’ economy represented by the likes of Uber, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Airtasker and for a short-time longer Foodora.

“The abrupt decision of German-owned food delivery service Foodora to exit the Australian market in mid-August has highlighted the competitive nature and tight margins that exist for new businesses relying on a flexible and mobile workforce. Foodora has also found itself the subject of continuing legal action for possible under-payment of millions of dollars in wages and entitlements. The legal action will continue despite Foodora’s exit from the Australian market.

“A recent Roy Morgan release analysing Australia’s food delivery market showed that almost 10% of Australians used food delivery services in the year to March 2018 with inner-urban Metrotechs the heaviest users. Even so, only 22.5% of Metrotechs use meal delivery services and only 3.8% used Foodora – well behind rivals Uber Eats (16.4%), Menulog (13.4%) and Deliveroo (7.3%).

“Foodora’s exit shows that for all the ‘hype’ about the ‘gig’ economy there are limits to this type of employment model when regulatory and competition considerations are taken into account. Foodora’s decision also signifies how important it is for Governments to create sensible industrial relations laws that encourage employers to take on new workers rather than penalise employers looking to grow their business.”

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 592,277 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – July 2018 and includes 5,028 face-to-face interviews in July 2018.

*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:




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 (2001-2018)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2018)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2018)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2018)

Roy Morgan Australian Unemployment - July 2018 - 10%

Roy Morgan Australian Unemployment - June Quarter 2018 - 9.2%



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



25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%





















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Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309