Roy Morgan unemployment rises to 13.8%

According to Roy Morgan, Australia’s unemployment rate lifted to 13.8% in August from 12.5% in July as the economic recovery stalled:

In August 13.8% of the workforce (1.98 million Australians) were unemployed. This represents an increase of 194,000 on July caused by two drivers – fewer jobs and more people looking for work.

Although there were fewer people employed overall in August than July (down 89,000 to 12,376,000), the positive news is there were more full time workers (up 138,000 to 8,013,000) and fewer part-time workers (down 227,000 to 4,225,000).

In addition to those who are unemployed 1.29 million Australians (9% of the workforce) are under-employed – working part-time but looking for more work. This is down 208,000 on a month ago driven by the reduction in part time employment.

In total 3.27 million Australians (22.8%) were either unemployed or under-employed in August, an improvement of only 14,000 on July according to the latest Roy Morgan employment estimates.

In August, unemployment increased in every State except locked down Victoria. On a State based level the biggest increases in unemployment in August were in the States which have enforced the toughest border restrictions – Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. The unemployment rates in all three States increased by 3% points or more in August to at least 16%.

Compared to early March, before the nation-wide lockdown, there are now an additional 1.1 million Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+7.2% points)…

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says unemployment has increased in August as Australians re-joining the workforce as restrictions ease around most of the country can’t all find new jobs:

“Roy Morgan’s unemployment measure for August shows 1.98 million Australians were unemployed (13.8% of the workforce) with an additional 1.29 million (9%) under-employed. In total a massive 3.27 million Australians (22.8%) were unemployed or under-employed – down 14,000 on a month ago.

“The rise in unemployment was due to people starting to look for work again as most of Australia continued to open up in August However, there were not jobs available for everyone re-joining the workforce and unemployment increased in every State except locked down Victoria”.

It’s shaping up as an L-shaped recovery for the Aussie labour market.

Leith van Onselen
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