Back To Listing

Latest data for the Roy Morgan employment series shows:

In February over 1.17 million Australians were unemployed (8.3% of the workforce), with an additional 1.27 million (9% of the workforce) now under-employed.

  • The workforce in February was a record high 14,087,000 – comprised of 12,913,000 employed and 1,174,000 unemployed Australians looking for work. The total includes an annual increase of 621,000. The growth was driven by a significant increase in employment compared to this time a year ago;
  • The number of Australians in employment was up a large 739,000 from a year ago to 12,913,000 in February 2020. This was driven by a significant increase in full-time employment of 514,000 to 8,673,000, and an increase of 225,000 in part-time employment to 4,105,000;
  • Unemployment dropped 118,000 on a year ago, to 1,174,000, and the unemployment rate was down 1.3% to 8.3%. In contrast, under-employment, Australians working part-time and looking for more work, increased to 9% of the workforce or 1,269,000 people (up 113,000, or 0.4%);
  • Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 8.3% for February is higher than the current ABS estimate for January 2020 of 5.3%. Roy Morgan’s under-employment estimate of 9% is also marginally higher than the current ABS under-employment estimate of 8.6%;
  • Although Roy Morgan’s total unemployment and under-employment of 2,443,000 Australians (17.3% of the workforce) in February, down 5,000 on a year ago, is larger than figures usually estimated, the biennial ABS survey the ‘Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation’, last released in late 2017, claimed that 2.7 million Australians would like a job or to work more hours – including 1.1 million people who wanted a job but were excluded from the Labour Force.

(There is a detailed explanation of the differences between Roy Morgan and ABS figures and methodologies below.)

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says the Australian workforce grew strongly over the last year with big increases in both full-time and part-time employment compared to a year ago:

“Roy Morgan’s latest data shows the Australian workforce boosted by over 730,000 new jobs over the past year. An additional 510,000 full-time jobs and over 220,000 new part-time jobs drove total employment in Australia up to a record high of over 12.9 million in February 2020. More Australians are working than ever before and 67.1% of Australians of working age are now in the workforce – up 2% points on a year ago and a two-and-a-half year high.

“However, despite the strong growth in new jobs, there are still over 2.44 million Australians looking for a job or looking for more hours representing 17.3% of the workforce. This large pool of under-utilised labour is virtually unchanged on a year ago when 2.45 million Australians were either unemployed or employed part-time and looking for more hours, the under-employed.

“These results indicate that the Australian workforce has emerged in relatively good shape from a summer of bushfires, floods, and for some parts of Australia, cyclones. However, in recent weeks a significant new threat has emerged with the fast-spreading novel coronavirus now named as COVID-19.

“The spread of COVID-19 has led to travel bans for some of Australia’s largest trading partners including China and South Korea and has led to a precipitous decline in international tourism to many locations – including Australia as travellers refuse to get on a plane.

“These impacts are already being felt heavily in several industries including Manufacturing, Education & Training, Accommodation & Food services, which includes travel and tourism, and Wholesale trade as revealed in a special Roy Morgan SMS survey in February and look set to grow in the months ahead.”

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.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – February 2020. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 665,536 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and February 2020, and includes 3,907 face-to-face interviews in February 2020. *The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or freelancers who are looking for more work.

Visit the Roy Morgan Online Store to purchase employment profiles including for Australians who are employedunemployedunder-employedemployed part-timeemployed full-timeretiredstudying and many more.

Visit the Roy Morgan Online Store to purchase the Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Monthly Detailed Report in AustraliaBusiness Confidence Monthly Detailed Report.

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

Months

January 2019

2,553

18.7

1,253

9.2

597

656

1,300

9.5

February 2019

2,448

18.2

1,292

9.6

606

686

1,156

8.6

March 2019

2,812

20.6

1,491

10.9

731

760

1,321

9.7

April 2019

2,381

17.7

1,202

8.9

599

603

1,179

8.8

May 2019

2,559

18.4

1,325

9.5

674

651

1,234

8.9

June 2019

2,529

18.6

1,254

9.2

605

649

1,275

9.4

July 2019

2,480

18.3

1,182

8.7

526

656

1,298

9.6

August 2019

2,130

15.8

1,179

8.7

454

725

951

7.1

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

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

For further information:

Contact

Office

Mobile

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 (2001-2020)

Roy Morgan Research Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2005-2020)

Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2020)

ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2020)

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 ABS classifies a person as employed if, when surveyed, a person worked for one hour or more during the reference week for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind, or even if a person worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm.

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





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