Consumer confidence and jobs growth are two important growth drivers of our property markets.
So it was good news that for the first time in January over 12 million Australians are now employed.
This was up 368,000 over the past year.
But to get a better understanding of what’s really going on you have to unpack the numbers a little
According to Roy Morgan research a total of 2.402 million Australians, 17.9% of the workforce, were either unemployed (1,295,000) or under-employed (1,107,000) – down 173,000 (down 1.8%) from January 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.
The key stats:
- Unemployment is lower than a year ago with 1.295 million Australians now unemployed (down 51,000 in a year and down 0.6% at 9.7%). The Roy Morgan real unemployment figures are substantially higher than the current ABS estimate for December 2016 (5.8%);
- In January the total Australian workforce increased to 13,414,000 (up 316,000 since January 2016) and for the first time total employment was above 12 million – 12,120,000 (up 368,000);
- In further good news over 8 million Australians are now employed full-time for the first time: now 8,085,000 – up 221,000 from a year ago (7,864,000 in January 2016). Part-time employment also grew strongly, increasing by 147,000 to 4,035,000 from January 2016 (3,888,000);
- Under-employment in January is now 8.3% (down 1.1% since January 2016) of the work force and 1,107,000 Australians (down 122,000 since January 2016) are under-employed.
Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“For the first time total Australian employment exceeded 12 million in January – 12,120,000 (up 368,000 since January 2016) powered by increases in both full-time employment – 8,085,000 (up 221,000) and part-time employment 4,035,000 (up 147,000). January also marked the first month over 8 million Australians are employed full-time.
“However, despite the encouraging news, job creation in Australia is still not strong enough to significantly lower Australia’s real unemployment and under-employment – now 9.7% (1.295 million, down 51,000 from a year ago) Australians are unemployed, and an additional 8.2% (1.107 million, down 122,000) are under-employed – a total of 2.402 million (17.9%) looking for work or looking for more work.
“New US President Donald Trump has consistently outlined the problems with the way unemployment is measured in the United States. In December Trump claimed the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment rate was “totally fiction”. Trump’s insistence that the BLS severely under-estimates US unemployment is one of the primary reasons Trump was elected President.
“The BLS estimates US unemployment of 4.8% in January (U3 measure), although the more accurate U6 measure estimates US unemployment of 9.4%. However, during the Presidential election campaign Trump claimed real US unemployment was as high as 20%.
“The Australian Government faces the same problem Trump has called attention to – the ABS unemployment figure (5.8% for December 2016) severely under-estimates real Australian unemployment – and the ABS doesn’t even release a monthly estimate of Australian under-employment.
“The changing nature of the workforce in Australia, the United States, and for that matter around the world demands that Governments look seriously at amending the official measures of employment and unemployment that policymakers rely on to make decisions that impact millions of their citizens.
“If Governments are to look after the best interests of their citizens – as they’re elected to do – the crucial economic indicators like the unemployment estimates must be as accurate as possible, and not designed to under-state the problem for political purposes.
“In Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s case, it is imperative for his own political survival, and that of his L-NP Government, that an accurate measure of unemployment is used to set policy to ensure a growing Australian economy provides jobs to the over 2 million Australians looking for work or looking for more work.
“However, there is good news for the Turnbull Government this week with Victorian crossbench Senator Derryn Hinch announcing his support for bringing forward the implementation of the Government’s ABCC Bill which triggered last year’s Federal Election. When implemented the ‘new’ ABCC building code will significantly lower building costs if the Building Industry doesn’t give into union pressure as they have over the last 20+ years.
“Today’s vigorous verbal assault on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten – calling the Opposition Leader ‘sycophantic’ and a ‘parasite’ and accusing Shorten of selling out the jobs and wages of Australian workers – shows Turnbull’s finally showing initiative by bringing the major issue facing Australia to the fore – industrial relations and the restrictive Australian IR laws that stop businesses hiring workers and leads to higher unemployment.”
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