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1.81 million Australians unemployed (12.8% of the workforce). - featured image
By Michael Yardney

1.81 million Australians unemployed (12.8% of the workforce).

The latest Roy Morgan employment series data shows 1.81 million Australians unemployed (12.8% of the workforce).

  • The workforce was up slightly: Unemployment

The workforce in October was 14,158,000 – comprised of 12,348,000 employed and 1,810,000 unemployed Australians looking for work. The workforce total was up slightly by 10,000 since September as gains in employment outpaced the decline in unemployment.

  • More Australians were employed in October as part-time employment was up strongly:

12,348,000 Australians were employed, up 28,000 from September, driven by the increase in part-time employment up 59,000 to 4,388,000, while there were 7,960,000 employed full-time, down 31,000.

  • Fewer Australians were looking for work:

1,810,000 Australians were looking for work (12.8% of the workforce), down 18,000 from September. There were fewer people looking for part-time work, down 76,000 to 1,020,000 but there was an increase of 58,000 people looking for full-time work to 790,000.


Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 12.8% for October is significantly higher than the current ABS estimate for September 2020 of 6.9%.

However, the ABS figure for September estimated a large decline in the size of the workforce since March which they said was down 228,000.

The ABS also count an additional 199,000 Australians who were working zero hours in September for economic reasons as ‘employed’.

If these non-workers are added the ABS unemployment estimate for September increases to 1.36 million (9.9%).

  • Under-employment virtually unchanged in October:

In addition to those who were unemployed 1.34 million Australians (9.4% of the workforce) were under-employed – working part-time but looking for more work. This was a small increase of 7,000 on a month ago driven by the increase in part time employment.

In total 3.15 million Australians (22.2%) were either unemployed or under-employed in October, an improvement of 11,000 on September according to the latest Roy Morgan employment estimates.

Compared to early March, before the nation-wide lockdown was implemented, there were almost 1 million more Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+6.6% points).

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says:

“Roy Morgan’s unemployment measure for October shows 1.81 million Australians were unemployed (12.8% of the workforce) with an additional 1.34 million (9.4%) under-employed. In total 3.15 million Australians (22.2%) were unemployed or under-employed – down 11,000 on a month ago.

“The unemployment and under-employment estimates for October are the first after the Federal Government reduced the size of the JobKeeper wage subsidy, from $1,500 per fortnight to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time workers and cut in half to $750 for part-time workers.

“The JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement was also cut by $300 per fortnight as most of Australia continued to open up. However, it is important to remember that Victoria continued in Stage 4 lockdown until the last few days of October and the Queensland border to NSW only (partially) re-opened this week in early November.”

Unemployment 1 Unemployment 2

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About Michael Yardney Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
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