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Australian unemployment drops to 7.8% in June – equal lowest since the pandemic began

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’ is based on weekly interviews of 839,202 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and June 2022 and includes 5,913 telephone and online interviews in June 2022.

In June unemployment dropped for a second straight month, down 0.3% points to 7.8%, according to the latest Roy Morgan monthly employment data. The drop in unemployment was driven by increasing full-time jobs which boosted the overall number of employed Australians.

Unemployment in June fell 44,000 to 1.13 million Australians (7.8% of the workforce) while under-employment was down slightly by 13,000 to 1.23 million (8.5% of the workforce). Overall unemployment and under-employment fell 57,000 to 2.35 million (16.3% of the workforce).

  • The workforce was up 78,000 in June driven by increasing employment:
    The workforce in June was 14,491,000 (up 78,000 from May) – comprised of 13,366,000 employed Australians (up 122,000) and 1,125,000 unemployed Australians looking for work (down 44,000).
  • Rise in employment driven by increase in full-time employment:
    Australian employment increased by 122,000 to 13,366,000 in June driven by an increase in full-time employment, up 363,000 to 8,876,000. This represents a new all-time high for full-time employment during the first full month of the new Albanese Government. In contrast, part-time employment fell by 241,000 to 4,490,000 in June, falling back near to its level in April prior to the spike caused by the Federal Election during May.
  • The strong rise in full-time employment led to the decline in unemployment in June:
    1,125,000 Australians were unemployed (7.8% of the workforce), a decrease of 44,000 from May with fewer people looking for full-time work, down 68,000 to 409,000, while in contrast there was a small rise in those looking for part-time work, up 24,000 to 716,000.
  • Under-employment was virtually unchanged down slightly in June at 1,226,000:
    In addition to the unemployed, 1,226,000 Australians (8.5% of the workforce) were under-employed – working part-time but looking for more work, down just 13,000 from May.
    In total 2,351,000 Australians (16.3% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in June, down 57,000 on May.


Compared to early March 2020, before the nation-wide lockdown, in June 2022 there were almost 200,000 more Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+0.7% points) even though overall employment (13,366,000) is almost 500,000 higher than it was pre-COVID-19 (12,872,000).

Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 7.8% for June is double the ABS estimate for May 2022 of 3.9%. However, the ABS figure for May show there were 780,500 workers who worked fewer hours than usual due to illness, personal injury or sick leave compared to an average of 407,540 for the month of May over the five years from May 2017 – May 2021.

This difference, which can be put down to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, equates to a difference of 372,960 in May 2022 above the average for the month of May for the previous five years. If these workers are added to the 548,100 classified as unemployed this creates a total of 921,060 – equivalent to 6.6% of the workforce. In addition, the ABS classifies 5.7% of the workforce (approximately 808,000 workers) as under-employed. Combining these figures adds to 1.73 million workers, around 12.3% of the workforce.


Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment (2019-2022)

Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment - June 2022 - 16.3%
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – June 2022. Average monthly interviews 5,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.


Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says the news was good on the employment front for the new ALP Government in June with full-time employment hitting a new record high and driving unemployment to its lowest since October 2019:

“The latest Roy Morgan employment estimates for June show full-time employment up 363,000 to 8,876,000 in June – a new record high. The increase in full-time employment drove overall employment up by 122,000 to 13,366,000 even as part-time employment fell in June following the temporary spike seen in May due to the Federal Election.

“The strong employment result drove unemployment down to 1,125,000 (7.8% of the workforce) – the lowest level of unemployment since October 2019 well before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are an additional 1,226,000 Australians (8.5% of the workforce) now under-employed which means there are still a large cohort of 2.35 million Australians now unemployed or under-employed.

“Although the news on the employment front is positive in the first month of the new ALP Government there are clearly several challenges facing policymakers over the next few months including rising inflationary pressures, the RBA increasing interest rates to quell inflation and the reliability (and cost) of the Australian energy market – particularly along the east coast.

“These challenges are all inter-related and can all lead to an increasing level of unemployment in the future if they aren’t dealt with. For the foreseeable future the global prices of energy and food are set to continue to increase due to the conflict in Ukraine as well as domestic factors such as the recent floods in Queensland and NSW.

“On the domestic front the wild weather seen in many parts of Australia will hopefully abate over the next few months allowing food prices to normalise but a key priority for the Government must be to bring certainty to the domestic energy market.

“By stabilising the domestic gas and electricity market the Government can reduce upward price pressure on these key energy inputs which will lower inflation pressures and allow the RBA to end its interest rate increasing cycle sooner than some may expect.

“If the Albanese Government allows Australia’s energy situation to deteriorate further over the next few months, and years, they will end up causing persistently higher inflation in the economy which will most certainly put their re-election in three years’ time at risk.”


Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimates

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2021

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

Jan-Mar 2021

2,971

20.6

1,750

12.1

717

1,033

1,222

8.5

Apr-Jun 2021

2,688

18.3

1,398

9.5

574

824

1,290

8.8

Jul-Sep 2021

2,573

17.7

1,350

9.3

547

803

1,224

8.4

Oct-Dec 2021

2,586

17.8

1,301

9.0

537

764

1,286

8.9

2022

Jan-Mar 2022

2,380

16.4

1,187

8.2

438

749

1,193

8.2

Apr-Jun 2022

2,467

17.0

1,235

8.5

482

753

1,232

8.5

Months

May 2021

2,749

18.9

1,493

10.3

558

935

1,256

8.6

June 2021

2,651

17.9

1,394

9.4

570

824

1,257

8.5

July 2021

2,756

18.8

1,422

9.7

619

803

1,334

9.1

August 2021

2,537

17.7

1,362

9.5

492

870

1,175

8.2

September 2021

2,428

16.7

1,265

8.7

530

735

1,163

8.0

October 2021

2,547

17.8

1,320

9.2

471

849

1,227

8.6

November 2021

2,536

17.5

1,330

9.2

583

748

1,206

8.3

December 2021

2,676

18.2

1,252

8.5

557

695

1,424

9.7

January 2022

2,427

16.6

1,201

8.2

464

737

1,226

8.4

February 2022

2,357

16.3

1,227

8.5

463

764

1,130

7.8

March 2022

2,356

16.2

1,133

7.8

387

746

1,223

8.4

April 2022

2,641

18.1

1,411

9.7

559

852

1,230

8.4

May 2022

2,408

16.7

1,169

8.1

477

692

1,239

8.6

June 2022

2,351

16.3

1,125

7.8

409

716

1,226

8.5

*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 interviews of 839,202 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and June 2022 and includes 5,913 telephone and online interviews in June 2022. *The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or freelancers who are looking for more work.

Contact Roy Morgan to learn more about Australia’s unemployed and under-employed; who and where they are, and the challenges they face as they search for employment opportunities.

Visit the Roy Morgan Online Store to purchase employment profiles, including for Australians who are employed, unemployed, under-employed, employed part-time, employed full-time, retired, studying and many more.


Roy Morgan Research cf. ABS Unemployment Estimates

Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment - June 2022 (16.3%) 
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2006 – June 2022. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.


Roy Morgan Research cf. ABS Unemployment Estimates

Roy Morgan Monthly Unemployment - 7.8%
Source
: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2000 – June 2022. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.

Roy Morgan Quarterly Unemployment - June Quarter 2022 (8.5%)
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source April 1995 – June 2022. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.


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