Back To Listing

Unemployment virtually unchanged in October at 12.8% - but up 2.5% to 14.6% in locked down Victoria

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 714,047 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and October 2020 and includes 6,136 telephone and online interviews in October 2020.

Latest Roy Morgan employment series data shows 1.81 million Australians unemployed (12.8% of the workforce).

  • The workforce was up slightly:

The workforce in October was 14,158,000 – comprised of 12,348,000 employed and 1,810,000 unemployed Australians looking for work. The workforce total was up slightly by 10,000 since September as gains in employment outpaced the decline in unemployment.

  • More Australians were employed in October as part-time employment was up strongly:

12,348,000 Australians were employed, up 28,000 from September, driven by the increase in part-time employment up 59,000 to 4,388,000, while there were 7,960,000 employed full-time, down 31,000.

  • Fewer Australians were looking for work:

1,810,000 Australians were looking for work (12.8% of the workforce), down 18,000 from September. There were fewer people looking for part-time work, down 76,000 to 1,020,000 but there was an increase of 58,000 people looking for full-time work to 790,000.

Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 12.8% for October is significantly higher than the current ABS estimate for September 2020 of 6.9%. However, the ABS figure for September estimated a large decline in the size of the workforce since March which they said was down 228,000. The ABS also count an additional 199,000 Australians who were working zero hours in September for economic reasons as ‘employed’. If these non-workers are added the ABS unemployment estimate for September increases to 1.36 million (9.9%).

  • Under-employment virtually unchanged in October:

In addition to those who were unemployed 1.34 million Australians (9.4% of the workforce) were under-employed – working part-time but looking for more work. This was a small increase of 7,000 on a month ago driven by the increase in part time employment.

In total 3.15 million Australians (22.2%) were either unemployed or under-employed in October, an improvement of 11,000 on September according to the latest Roy Morgan employment estimates.

Compared to early March, before the nation-wide lockdown was implemented, there were almost 1 million more Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+6.6% points).

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says:

“Roy Morgan’s unemployment measure for October shows 1.81 million Australians were unemployed (12.8% of the workforce) with an additional 1.34 million (9.4%) under-employed. In total 3.15 million Australians (22.2%) were unemployed or under-employed – down 11,000 on a month ago.

“The unemployment and under-employment estimates for October are the first after the Federal Government reduced the size of the JobKeeper wage subsidy, from $1,500 per fortnight to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time workers and cut in half to $750 for part-time workers.

“The JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement was also cut by $300 per fortnight as most of Australia continued to open up. However, it is important to remember that Victoria continued in Stage 4 lockdown until the last few days of October and the Queensland border to NSW only (partially) re-opened this week in early November.”


 Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment (2019-2020)


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – October 2020. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.



Unemployment jumps in Victoria as JobKeeper ends for some and reduces for others

A look at the trends on a State-based level shows unemployment jumping 2.5% to 14.6% in Victoria in October – the highest of any mainland State as the strict lockdown continued in Melbourne until the last few days of the month.

Overall, the Victorian workforce grew in October, up by 39,000 to 3,8210,000 – but not all those entering the workforce were able to find jobs – adding to unemployment. In addition, a drop of 95,000 full-time jobs was a major contributor to unemployment in the State as JobKeeper ended for some workers – especially national companies that no longer qualified for the wage subsidy, and reduced significantly for others.

On raw numbers unemployment in Victoria was up 101,000 to 560,000 and under-employment increased 109,000 to 438,000 – almost 1 million Victorians were either unemployed or under-employed (26.1%).

The situation in ‘closed-border’ Queensland was also poor with the workforce contracting significantly as many stopped looking for work while employment was virtually unchanged. This meant that although there were no new jobs being generated unemployment in Queensland fell to 13.4%.

The workforce in South Australia increased in October but as people joining the workforce were not able to find new jobs unemployment increased to 12.9%. Employment for the month was unchanged.

Other States fared better in October with employment increasing, and unemployment decreasing, in both NSW and WA. Unemployment in NSW is again the lowest in Australia at 10.9% while unemployment in WA has fallen to 13.6% - but is still the second highest on the mainland for the State with the hardest border.


Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says on the surface many employment indicators were relatively unchanged in October but underneath the surface the winding down of the JobKeeper wage subsidy had a definite impact on locked down Victoria with unemployment soaring:

“There were significant differences between the States on the employment front in October and the extended 16 week lockdown which ended just over a week ago started to have a real impact on the Victorian economy over the last month.

“Unemployment in Victoria ‘rocketed’ by 2.5% points to 14.6% in October to be the highest of the five mainland States. The higher unemployment in Victoria followed an extension of the Stage 4 lockdown that only ended in the final week of the month.

“Not only was unemployment up sharply in Victoria, but under-employment increased 2.8% to 11.5% for a total unemployment and under-employment of 26.1% - over 1-in-4 Victorians. This is the highest in the country ahead of Tasmania (23.9%) and WA (22.7%).

“Of course, the good news for Victoria is that the State has finally emerged from the near four-month lockdown and the next two months presents a big opportunity to get the State moving again as retailers and hospitality businesses have re-opened although with continuing restrictions.

“In contrast to the trend in Victoria, unemployment continued on a downward trend in NSW to 10.9% (down 0.2%) and the lowest in the country. NSW has been the most open economy throughout the pandemic and is also the first to announce it plans to re-open its borders to Victoria in just over two weeks’ time on Monday November 23.

“Unemployment also fell in the ‘hard border’ states of Queensland and WA in October although remains well above the national average in both. In Queensland in particular the fall in unemployment was not good news as people stopped looking for work and left the workforce while employment was virtually unchanged for the month as the State geared up for last weekend’s State Election and a decision on the border with NSW – which has now been partially re-opened.”



Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimates

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2019

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

Jan-Mar 2019

2,604

19.2

1,345

9.9

635

701

1,259

9.3

Apr-Jun 2019

2,490

18.2

1,260

9.2

626

634

1,229

9.0

Jul-Sep 2019

2,261

16.6

1,188

8.7

520

667

1,074

7.9

Oct-Dec 2019

2,374

17.1

1,134

8.2

536

598

1,240

8.9

2020

Jan-Mar 2020

2,692

19.1

1,417

10.1

638

779

1,275

9.0

Apr-Jun 2020

3,466

24.6

2,099

14.9

937

1,162

1,367

9.7

Jul-Sep 2020

3,237

22.7

1,865

13.1

769

1,096

1,373

9.6

Months

September 2019

2,174

15.7

1,202

8.7

581

621

972

7.0

October 2019

2,307

16.7

1,075

7.8

441

634

1,232

8.9

November 2019

2,226

16.1

1,122

8.1

549

573

1,104

8.0

December 2019

2,588

18.6

1,205

8.7

619

587

1,383

9.9

January 2020

2,586

18.4

1,361

9.7

713

648

1,225

8.7

February 2020

2,443

17.3

1,174

8.3

517

658

1,269

9.0

March 2020 (Total)

3,046

21.6

1,715

12.2

684

1,030

1,331

9.4

March 2020 (Early)

2,161

15.6

1,019

7.3

402

617

1,142

8.2

March 2020 (Late)

3,923

27.4

2,407

16.8

960

1,447

1,516

10.6

April 2020

3,484

24.7

2,159

15.3

1,001

1,158

1,325

9.4

May 2020

3,459

24.5

2,090

14.8

907

1,183

1,369

9.7

June 2020

3,454

24.5

2,048

14.5

904

1,144

1,406

10.0

July 2020

3,284

23.0

1,786

12.5

807

979

1,498

10.5

August 2020

3,270

22.8

1,980

13.8

768

1,212

1,290

9.0

September 2020

3,158

22.3

1,828

12.9

732

1,096

1,330

9.4

October 2020

3,147

22.2

1,810

12.8

790

1,020

1,337

9.4

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

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 714,047 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and October 2020 and includes 6,136 telephone and online interviews in October 2020. *The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or freelancers who are looking for more work.


Roy Morgan Research cf. ABS Unemployment Estimates

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2000 – October 2020. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.



Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – October 2020. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – October 2020. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309
askroymorgan@roymorgan.com


About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

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. Margin of error 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. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

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