The lack of employment growth will be a serious concern for the Government

Australian employment was down to just under 12.2 million in February with a small increase in full-time jobs from a year ago more than offset by 60,000 fewer part-time jobs.

The lack of jobs growth over the last year will be a significant concern for the Federal Government, which is obviously seeking re-election at a Federal election expected in mid-May

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, explains that as well as the lack of employment growth the latest Roy Morgan Business Confidence rating for February of only 105.6 – the lowest since August 2015 – indicates Australia’s businesses are waiting for the political uncertainty to clear in a few months’ time. Employment Growth

The consecutive ratings below 110 are the slowest start to a year for Business Confidence since the index began.

The latest Australian GDP figures showed the economy growing by only 0.2% in the December 2018 quarter, the slowest rate of growth for over two years since a quarterly contraction of 0.5% in the September 2016 quarter.

Given the political uncertainty facing Australia over the next two months, with a New South Wales election later in March before the Federal election expected in mid-May, the prospects for the economy and employment growth in the short-term appear to be limited.

However, the Federal Government has a chance to ‘reboot the economy’ with a stimulative Federal Budget due to be delivered on the first Tuesday in April.

The Budget is also the Morrison Government’s last chance to save their chances of re-election as the Roy Morgan Poll, and other polls, have consistently shown the ALP heading towards an easy election victory.

The latest data for the Roy Morgan employment series for February shows:

  • The workforce, which comprises employed Australians and those who are unemployed and looking for work, is now 13,466,000, down 72,000 on a year ago. 
  • Now 12,174,000 Australians were employed in February, down 54,000 over the past year;
  • The fall in employment was driven by a decrease in part-time employment of 60,000 to 4,015,000. Over the past year full-time employment was virtually unchanged up by 6,000 to 8,159,000;
  • 1,292,000 Australians (9.6% of the workforce) were unemployed in February, down 18,000 on a year ago and the unemployment rate decreased by 0.1%;
  • An additional 1,156,000 Australians (8.6% of the workforce) were under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a decrease of 54,000 in a year (down 0.3%);
  • In total 2,448,000 Australians (18.2% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in December, a decrease of 72,000 in a year (down 0.4%);
  • Roy Morgan’s real unemployment figure of 9.6% for February is significantly higher than the current ABS estimate for January 2019 of 5.0% although Roy Morgan’s under-employment estimate of 8.6% is comparable to the current ABS underemployment estimate of 8.1%.

The lack of employment growth will be a serious concern for the Government

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – February 2019. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

Roy Morgan Commentary

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says employment growth over the last year has stalled with a drop in part-time employment sending overall employment levels lower than a year ago:

“The latest Roy Morgan employment estimates show that 12,174,000 Australians were employed in February down by 54,000 on a year ago. The fall in employment was driven by a decline in part-time employment by 60,000 to 4,015,000 while full-time employment was virtually unchanged at 8,159,000. measure-success-motivation-goal-tracking-happy-work-job-employment-rate-stat-ruler-math-lady-woman-female

“Despite the decline in overall employment from a year ago the level of unemployment was also down by 18,000 to 1,292,000 (9.6% of the workforce). These declines meant the overall workforce contracted by 72,000 from a year ago to 13,466,000.

“The lack of jobs growth over the last year will be a significant concern for the Federal Government which is due to seek re-election at a Federal election expected in just over two months in mid-May.

“As well as the lack of employment growth over the past year the latest Roy Morgan Business Confidence rating for February of only 105.6– the lowest since August 2015 – indicates Australia’s businesses are waiting for the political uncertainty to clear in a few months’ time. The consecutive ratings below 110 are the slowest start to a year for Business Confidence since the index began.

“The latest Australian GDP figures showed the economy growing by only 0.2% in the December quarter 2018 the slowest rate of growth for over two years since a quarterly contraction of 0.5% in September quarter 2016. 28842699_l

“Given the political uncertainty facing Australia over the next two months with a New South Wales election later in March before the Federal election expected in mid-May the prospects for the economy, and employment growth in the short-term appear to be limited.

“However, the Federal Government has a chance to ‘reboot the economy’ with a stimulative Federal Budget due to be delivered in three weeks on the first Tuesday in April. The Federal Budget is also the Morrison Government’s last chance to save their chances of re-election as the Roy Morgan Poll, and other polls, have consistently shown the ALP heading towards an easy election victory.

“The latest Roy Morgan Poll conducted over the last two weekends of March 2/3 & 9/10, 2019 with a representative cross-section of 1,603 electors shows the ALP 55.5% cf. L-NP 44.5% on a two-party preferred basis. The ALP’s lead amongst women is even stronger with women supporting the ALP 56.5% cf. L-NP 43.5% while men also support the ALP but to a lesser degree: ALP 54% cf. L-NP 46%.”

 This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly face-to-face interviews of 621,431 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 – February 2019 and includes 4,270 face-to-face interviews in February 2019.

*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).

Source: Roy Morgan

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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. Visit Metropole.com.au


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