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Australian unemployment down in January to 9.8% as full-time employment increases to new record high despite shrinking workforce

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 416,121 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – January 2015 and includes 4,021 face-to-face interviews in January 2015.

In January 2015 Roy Morgan Unemployment is 9.8%:

  • 12,627,000 Australians are in the workforce (down 127,000 since January 2014);
  • 11,394,000 Australians are employed (up 80,000 since January 2014);
  • 7,720,000 Australians are employed full-time (up 5,000 since January 2014 and a new record high);
  • 3,674,000 Australians are employed part-time (up 75,000 since January 2014);
  • 1,233,000 Australians are looking for work (9.8% of the workforce, down 207,000 since January 2014);
  • 1,033,000 Australians are under-employed, working part-time and looking for more hours – (8.2% of the workforce), down 72,000 since January 2014;
  • 2,266,000 Australians are unemployed or under-employed – (18.0% of the workforce), down 279,000 since January 2014.
  • After this month’s fall the latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate of 9.8% is a substantial 3.7% higher than the figure currently quoted by the ABS for December 2014 (6.1%).

Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimate

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2013

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

Oct–Dec 2013

2,439

19.5

1,337

10.7

734

603

1,102

8.8

2014

Jan-Mar 2014

2,532

20.0

1,489

11.7

844

645

1,043

8.2

Apr-Jun 2014

2,360

18.9

1,273

10.2

638

635

1,087

8.7

Jul-Sep 2014

2,237

18.2

1,179

9.6

594

585

1,058

8.6

Oct-Dec 2014

2,449

19.6

1,251

10.0

559

692

1,198

9.6

Months

December 2013

2,503

19.8

1,411

11.2

777

634

1,092

8.6

January 2014

2,545

20.0

1,440

11.3

851

589

1,105

8.7

February 2014

2,641

20.8

1,561

12.3

866

695

1,080

8.5

March 2014

2,410

19.1

1,465

11.6

814

651

945

7.5

April 2014

2,387

18.9

1,308

10.4

628

680

1,079

8.5

April 2014**

2,374

19.0

1,299

10.4

629

670

1,074

8.6

May 2014

2,179

17.8

1,186

9.7

603

583

993

8.1

June 2014

2,514

20.1

1,326

10.6

684

642

1,188

9.5

July 2014

2,344

18.9

1,265

10.2

654

611

1,079

8.7

August 2014

2,144

17.6

1,064

8.7

516

548

1,080

8.8

September 2014

2,223

18.2

1,208

9.9

613

595

1,015

8.3

October 2014

2,207

18.4

1,090

9.1

461

629

1,117

9.3

November 2014

2,491

19.7

1,260

10.0

564

696

1,231

9.7

December 2014

2,648

20.6

1,402

10.9

653

749

1,246

9.7

January 2015

2,266

18.0

1,233

9.8

635

598

1,033

8.2

*Workforce includes those employed and those looking for work – the unemployed. **The Roy Morgan employment estimates for May 2014 and going forward are based to a lower estimate of the Australian population aged 14 or more (from 19,365,000 in the original April figures to 19,205,000 for the revised April figures and 19,232,000 in May). The lower Roy Morgan national population estimate is a result of ABS revisions after fully including the results of the most recent ABS Census.

Gary Morgan says:

“Today’s Roy Morgan employment estimates show Australia’s total employment in January has increased over the past year to 11,394,000 (up 80,000). Driving the increase in employment was a strong increase in part-time employment to 3,674,000 (up 75,000) while full-time employment increased only slightly to 7,720,000 (up 5,000). However, despite the increase in employment, Australia’s workforce decreased over the past year to 12,627,000 (down 127,000). The main driver for the fall in the workforce compared to a year ago was a substantial drop in those looking for work – now 1,233,000 (down 207,000) as many Australians simply ‘gave up’ and left the workforce.

“This problem is not confined to Australia, it is just as bad in the United States – as exposed this week by Jim Clifton, CEO at Gallup, in his article ‘The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment’. Clifton makes many good points about US unemployment: ‘Here’s something that many Americans -- including some of the smartest and most educated among us -- don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading’ and goes on ‘There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie’.

“Looking at the month-to-month Roy Morgan Australian figures shows the usual January patterns with part-time employment falling compared to a month ago – part-time employment has fallen in January in nine out of the last eleven years while full-time employment increased to a new record high and has increased in ten out of the last eleven years in January as Australians return to work and new employees enter the full-time workforce for the first time after their Summer holidays.

“The RBA’s well overdue decision this week to cut Australian interest rates for the first time in 18 months (now at 2.25%) will provide a further stimulus to the economy over the coming months. Although the RBA’s decision was welcome, Glenn Stevens must continue cutting interest rates in the next few months to really provide the boost the Australian economy needs.

“Although both unemployment (1,233,000, down 207,000) and under-employment (1,033,000, down 72,000) are lower than a year ago there are still 2.27 million Australians (18.0%) that are now looking for work or looking for more work – the 38th straight month (more than 3 years) that more than 2 million Australians have been looking for work or looking for more work.

“Despite the rise in employment and the falling levels of unemployment and under-employment over the past year today’s estimates show many Australians are leaving the workforce as they lose hope of securing employment. In addition, far more must be done to provide employment for the more than 2 million Australians that are looking for work and looking for more work.

“The Coalition Government (whether led by Tony Abbott or his successor) must look seriously at industrial relations reform – starting with the abolition of weekend and public holiday penalty rates. If Tony Abbott had seriously tackled the high levels of unemployment and under-employment in Australia he would be receiving a much greater degree of support from his colleagues and the Australian community than he is during his current leadership troubles.”

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 416,121 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – January 2015 and includes 4,021 face-to-face interviews in January 2015.

*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

Contact

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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 (2001-2015)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2015)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2015)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2015)

Roy Morgan Monthly Unemployment - January 2015 - 9.8%

Roy Morgan Quarterly Unemployment - December Quarter 2014 - 10.0%

Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment - January 2015


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.