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Australian unemployment drops to 9.4% in June – before three States enforce COVID lockdowns

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly interviews of 764,684 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and June 2021 and includes 6,051 telephone and online interviews in June 2021. *The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or freelancers who are looking for more work.

Latest Roy Morgan employment series data shows 1.39 million Australians were unemployed in June, down 99,000 on May, for an unemployment rate of 9.4%, while under-employment was virtually unchanged at 8.5% (1.26 million).

  • A record high 13.37 million Australians were employed in June:

    Australian employment increased by 305,000 to a record high of 13,374,000 in June including a record high 8,826,000 workers employed full-time, an increase of 147,000 from May and the eighth straight monthly increase. There was also an increase in part-time employment, up by 158,000 to 4,548,000.

  • Unemployment dropped in June with far fewer Australians looking for part-time work:

    1,394,000 Australians were unemployed (9.4% of the workforce), down 99,000 from May. Driving the fall was far fewer people looking for part-time work (down 111,000 to 824,000) but slightly more people looking for full-time work (up 12,000 to 570,000).

  • The workforce increased to a record high above 14.7 million in June:

    The workforce in June was 14,768,000 – comprised of 13,374,000 employed Australians (an increase of 305,000) and 1,394,000 unemployed Australians looking for work (up 99,000).


Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 9.4% for June is more than 4% points higher than the current ABS estimate for May 2021 of 5.1%. However, the ABS figure for May counts as employed an additional 58,000 Australians who were working zero hours for ‘economic reasons’. If these non-workers are added back the ABS unemployment estimate for May increases to 759,000 (5.5%). The ABS also claims there are nearly 1.03 million Australians (7.4%) under-employed for a total of almost 1.8 million unemployed or under-employed (12.9% of the workforce).

  • Under-employment was virtually unchanged in June:

    In addition to those who were unemployed, 1.26 million Australians (8.5% of the workforce) were under-employed – working part-time but looking for more work. This was unchanged from May.

    In total 2.65 million Australians (17.9% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in June, a drop of 98,000 on May. The decrease was driven by the fall in unemployment.


Compared to February 2020, before the nation-wide lockdown was implemented, in June 2021 there were over 200,000 more Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+2.3% points) even though overall employment (13,374,000) is now higher than it was pre-COVID-19 (12,913,000).


Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says the employment trends prior to the recent lockdowns in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory were good with total employment hitting a record high above 13.3 million in June:

“The latest Roy Morgan employment estimates for June show unemployment down 0.9% points to 9.4% while under-employment was virtually unchanged at 8.5%. This means a total of 2.65 million Australians (17.9% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in June, the lowest monthly figure since February 2020 (2.44 million, 17.3% of the workforce).

“Roy Morgan’s June employment estimates were compiled from interviewing conducted largely before the most recent series of lockdowns in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory began in the last few days of last month.

“Before these lockdowns the employment trends were very good with employment increasing 305,000 to a record high of 13.37 million in June. Both full-time and part-time employment increased in June and full-time employment was up for a record eighth straight month by 147,000 to 8,826,000.

“Since bottoming in late March 2020, when the nation-wide lockdown was introduced, full-time employment has now increased by over 1 million and has increased every month since October when Victoria’s long second lockdown ended.

“Speaking of Victorian lockdowns, the recent two-week lockdown in Victoria has had a negligible impact on employment levels in Victoria and although unemployment in Melbourne did increase slightly in June the State still has unemployment below the national average.

“The experience of Victoria suggests that the support measures introduced by the Federal Government of paying up to $500 to workers forced out of their jobs due to lockdowns has proved effective in terms of the recent lockdown in Victoria.”


Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment (2019-2021)

Latest Roy Morgan June 2021 Unemployment

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – June 2021. Average monthly interviews 5,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.


This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly interviews of 764,684 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and June 2021 and includes 6,051 telephone and online interviews in June 2021. *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 Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimates

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2020

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

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

Oct-Dec 2020

3,064

21.5

1,738

12.2

789

949

1,326

9.3

2021

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

Months

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

November 2020

2,964

21.0

1,680

11.9

779

901

1,284

9.1

December 2020

3,081

21.4

1,724

12.0

797

927

1,357

9.4

January 2021

3,118

21.7

1,680

11.7

692

988

1,438

10.0

February 2021

3,068

21.0

1,930

13.2

790

1,140

1,138

7.8

March 2021

2,728

19.0

1,639

11.4

668

971

1,089

7.6

April 2021

2,664

18.3

1,307

9.0

593

714

1,357

9.3

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

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




Roy Morgan Research cf. ABS Unemployment Estimates

Latest Roy Morgan June 2021 Unemployment
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2006 – June 2021. 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

Latest Roy Morgan June 2021 Unemployment
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2000 – June 2021. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.


Latest Roy Morgan June 2021 Unemployment
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source April 1995 – June 2021. Average monthly interviews 4,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.



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