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Over 600,000 jobs created since last election, but is it enough for the L-NP?

Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – April 2019. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

In April Australian unemployment is 8.9%, down 2% on a month ago, and following a similar pattern to that seen during Australia’s last Federal Election campaign in 2016. In the month before the 2016 Federal Election unemployment declined by 1.1% before rebounding after the election in July.

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

In April 1.2 million Australians were unemployed (8.9% of the workforce) with an additional 1.18 million (8.8%) now under-employed.

• The workforce, which comprises employed Australians and those who are unemployed and looking for work, increased year-on-year by 295,000 to 13,453,000. The increasing workforce was driven by increasing employment which increased 289,000 to 12,251,000 in April 2019;

• The increase in employment was driven by a significant increase in full-time employment of 524,000 to 8,032,000. Over the past year part-time employment was down by 235,000 to 4,219,000;

• The increase in employment largely mirrored the increase in the workforce and meant unemployment was virtually unchanged on a year ago. Now 1,202,000 Australians (8.9% of the workforce) are unemployed, up 6,000 on a year ago although the unemployment rate was down by 0.2%;

• An additional 1,179,000 Australians (8.8% of the workforce) are under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a decrease of 170,000 in a year (down 1.4%);

• In total 2,381,000 Australians (17.7% of the workforce) are either unemployed or under-employed, a decrease of 164,000 in a year (down 1.6%);

Roy Morgan’s real unemployment figure of 8.9% for April is significantly higher than the current ABS estimate for March 2019 of 5% although Roy Morgan’s under-employment estimate of 8.8% is comparable to the current ABS underemployment estimate of 8.2%.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – April 2019. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says that despite over 600,000 jobs being created since the last Federal election in July 2016, overall Australian unemployment and under-employment is still far too high at nearly 2.4 million (17.7% of the workforce) in April 2019:

“The latest Roy Morgan employment estimates show that 12,251,000 Australians were employed in April, up 609,000 on July 2016 at the time of the last Federal election. 

“The rise in employment during the term of this Government was fairly even. There are now 8,032,000 Australians employed full-time, an increase of 349,000 since July 2016 with an additional 4,219,000 Australians employed part-time, an increase of 260,000 since the last Federal election.

“However, despite this impressive job creation averaging over 200,000 new jobs per year, the total level of unemployment and under-employment in Australia remains well over 2 million.

“Now 2,381,000 Australians are either unemployed or under-employed representing some 17.7% of the workforce. At the time of the last Federal election there were 2,536,000 Australians (19.5%) unemployed or under-employed. In fact, there have now been over 2 million Australians unemployed or under-employed for over 3 ½ years since Malcolm Turnbull came to power in September 2015.

“Australians have already begun voting for this year’s Federal election and the Roy Morgan Poll has consistently shown a narrow ALP victory is the favoured outcome. The latest Roy Morgan Poll for the weekend of May 4/5, 2019 shows the ALP 51% just ahead of the L-NP 49% on a two-party preferred basis with just over a week to go until polls close on election day.

An in-depth Roy Morgan State of the Nation Report delivered this week on the state of the Australian economy and the political context as we drive towards next week’s election showed that  economic issues including ‘Keeping day-to-day living costs down’ (the highest of any issue at 53%), ‘Managing the economy’ (21%) and ‘Reducing unemployment’ (13%) are key issues for electors.

“Although the L-NP Government can rightly point to an impressive record of job creation over the last three years (and six years since the L-NP was first elected in September 2013), the Bill Shorten-led Opposition can counter that not enough has been done to find jobs for the nearly 2.4 million Australians who are looking for work or looking for more work.

“It’s going to be a very close election next week – closer than many Australians realise.”

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 629,546 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – April 2019 and includes 4,155 face-to-face interviews in April 2019. *The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or consultants who are looking for more work.

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 (2001-2019)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2019)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2019)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2019)



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