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Australian real unemployment steady at 9.2% (1.199m Australians); Under-employment down 1.5% to 8.4% (1.1m)

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 510,781 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – November 2016 and includes 3,998 face-to-face interviews in November 2016.
In November a total of 2.299 million Australians, 17.6% of the workforce, were either unemployed (1,199,000) or under-employed (1,100,000). This is down 237,000 (down 2%) from November 2015.

  • Unemployment is comparable to a year ago with 1.199 million Australians now unemployed (up 13,000 in a year but steady at 9.2% due to overall growth in the workforce). These real unemployment figures are substantially higher than the current ABS figure for October 2016 (5.6%);

  • In November the Australian workforce increased to 13,046,000 (up 92,000 since November 2015), and total employment increased to 11,847,000 (up 79,000);

  • Full-time employment is now 7,950,000 – up 374,000 from a year ago (7,576,000 in November 2015). In contrast, part-time employment has decreased by 295,000 to 3,897,000 over the past year (an average of just under 25,000 per month);

  • The lower part-time employment contributed to the fall in under-employment; now 8.4% of Australians 1,100,000 (down 250,000 since November 2015) are under-employed (down 2%) – while down in the past month, under-employment is about the same as it’s been for the last four months.

Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimate

Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed

Unemployed looking for

‘Under-employed’*

Full-time

Part-time

2015

‘000

%

‘000

%

‘000

‘000

‘000

%

Jan-Mar 2015

2,384

18.9

1,327

10.5

656

672

1,057

8.4

Apr-Jun 2015

2,359

18.7

1,263

10.0

618

645

1,096

8.7

Jul-Sep 2015

2,061

16.2

1,109

8.7

518

591

952

7.5

Oct-Dec 2015

2,475

19.2

1,184

9.2

603

581

1,291

10.0

2016

Jan-Mar 2016

2,496

19.1

1,362

10.4

639

723

1,134

8.7

Apr-Jun 2016

2,322

18.1

1,317

10.2

637

680

1,005

7.8

Jul-Sep 2016

2,296

17.8

1,266

9.8

574

692

1,030

8.0

Months

October 2015

2,198

17.4

1,110

8.8

464

646

1,088

8.6

November 2015

2,536

19.6

1,186

9.2

623

563

1,350

10.4

December 2015

2,690

20.7

1,256

9.7

722

534

1,434

11.0

January 2016

2,575

19.7

1,346

10.3

696

650

1,229

9.4

February 2016

2,480

18.8

1,319

10.0

589

730

1,161

8.8

March 2016

2,433

18.8

1,422

11.0

631

791

1,011

7.8

April 2016

2,322

18.1

1,334

10.4

611

723

988

7.7

May 2016

2,316

18.1

1,369

10.7

661

708

947

7.4

June 2016

2,326

17.9

1,247

9.6

637

610

1,079

8.3

July 2016

2,536

19.5

1,365

10.5

645

720

1,171

9.0

August 2016

2,249

17.5

1,332

10.4

544

788

917

7.1

September 2016

2,103

16.2

1,101

8.5

532

569

1,002

7.7

October 2016

2,454

19.1

1,188

9.2

626

562

1,266

9.9

November 2016

2,299

17.6

1,199

9.2

629

570

1,100

8.4

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

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In November Australia’s real unemployment was unchanged at 9.2% (1.199 million people looking for work, 13,000 more than a year ago) and under-employment fell to 8.4% (1,100,000, down a significant 250,000 in a year) – a total of 17.6% (2.299 million) Australians looking for work or looking for more work.

“Australia’s continuing high level of real unemployment and under-employment – now above 2 million for a 14th straight month has persistently indicated the weakness in the broader Australian economy which has now been confirmed by Australia’s first quarter of negative GDP growth since the March quarter 2011. The ABS announced last week Australian GDP shrunk 0.5% in the September quarter 2016.

“The election of Donald Trump in the US last month proves that politicians who take the concerns of their people seriously will find electoral success. Trump consistently asserted during his campaign that real unemployment in the US was far higher than the figures quoted by the official Bureau of Labor Statistics – over 20%, and perhaps even over 30%.

In May Trump stated:

‘We have tremendous deficits. Don’t believe the 5 per cent. The real [unemployment] number is 20 per cent. The United States is dying from within, its domestic infrastructure is crumbling and successive administrations have wasted $5 trillion in the Middle East instead of using the money to create jobs and prosperity at home.’

“Trump ‘hammered’ this message home to millions of Americans throughout his campaign – and in particularly in the so-called Mid-West ‘rust-belt’ States of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin. The last of these three traditionally ‘blue-collar’ States hadn’t been won by a Republican Presidential candidate since the 1980s. Trump won all five of these States.

“The Australian economy faces similar challenges with the end of the mining boom in recent years and the down-turn in manufacturing striking particularly hard in Australia’s smaller States. A special Roy Morgan analysis of real unemployment and under-employment in Australia revealed a new ‘two-speed’ economy emerging with relatively low real unemployment and under-employment in the two largest States of New South Wales and Victoria while both measures have soared in Queensland, WA, SA and Tasmania.

“In addition to thousands of high-paying jobs lost in the mining industry, in recent weeks the Masters hardware chain has closed its doors for good costing thousands of jobs, Ford motor company has ceased automotive manufacturing in Australia after more than 90 years, the Hazelwood power station in Victoria has announced its imminent closure in the New Year with more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs to go and within the next 12 months Australia’s other car manufacturers, Holden and Toyota, are both due to close their automotive manufacturing facilities with thousands more jobs lost.

“The booming real estate and construction industry is part of the solution, but this is concentrated in the Capital Cities of Sydney and Melbourne, and to a lesser extent Brisbane, rather than Australia-wide. If the Turnbull Government doesn’t undertake serious reforms to the Australian economy in the New Year – including cutting business tax rates as promised and reducing the penalty rates that keep shops closed on weekends and public holidays, the Australian economy is sure to endure more periods of negative growth before the next Federal Election due in 2019 – and the minor parties will be the big winners.

“The first real ‘electoral test’ for the re-elected Turnbull Government is the Western Australian State Election due in just under three months on Saturday March 11, 2017 – just after Australia’s next GDP figures are due to be released.”

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 510,781 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – November 2016 and includes 3,998 face-to-face interviews in November 2016.

*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

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Gary Morgan:     

+61 3 9224 5213  

+61 411 129 094

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Unemployment Data Tables

Roy Morgan Research Employment Estimates (2001-2016)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2007-2016)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2016)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2016)

Roy Morgan Monthly Unemployment Estimate - November 2016 - 9.2%

Roy Morgan Quarterly Unemployment Estimate - September Quarter 2016 - 9.8%

Roy Morgan Monthly Unemployment & Under-employment Estimate - November 2016 - 17.6%


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.


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

 

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

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