ABS unemployment figures ‘defy belief as job losses mount’- Roy Morgan

ANZ plans to slash 1000 jobs. Qantas announces 500 jobs to go. Billibong will shed 80 local jobs. Air Australia enters administration with 300 staff stood down.

Jobs are going left, right and center. Above is a subset of higher profile jobs losses announced just this week.

Yet, despite all the doom and gloom on the jobs front, the ABS announced yesterday the unemployment rate has actually decreased 0.1 points to 5.1 percent in January.

This comes as a bit of a surprise as Roy Morgan has earlier announced unemployment had spiked 1.7 percent in January to 10.3 percent – (2.21 million Australians unemployed or underemployed – Highest ever recorded. Unemployment at 10.3% – A record 1.28 million Australian’s looking for work.)

Historically, the Roy Morgan and ABS unemployment figures have tracked each other. That is until recently.

Roy Morgan has just filed a press release comparing, from its point of view, the two sets of figures – Roy Morgan Unemployment Figures (10.3% in January) show situation ‘on the ground’ while ABS unemployment figures (5.1%) defy belief as job losses mount around Australia.

It states the methodology between the two surveys differ as the the ABS data may lag what is actually happening “on the ground.” To jump through the hoop and be classed as unemployed by the ABS, you must have been looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey and be available for work when the survey takes place. Roy Morgan on the other hand simply classifies a person as unemployed if they are not employed and is looking for work. This would suggest the ABS figures will lag Roy Morgan’s by a month or two.

If this is the case, we can expect the ABS unemployment will start trending upwards. It should also be noted many of the job losses haven’t yet occurred, but have been announced. In the example of ANZ, it plans the cull 1000 workers from its workforce before September.

» 2.21 million Australians unemployed or underemployed – Highest ever recorded. Unemployment at 10.3% – A record 1.28 million Australian’s looking for work. – Roy Morgan, Friday 3rd February 2012.
» Roy Morgan Unemployment Figures (10.3% in January) show situation ‘on the ground’ while ABS unemployment figures (5.1%) defy belief as job losses mount around Australia. – Roy Morgan, Friday 17th February 2012.
» 6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2012 – The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Thursday 16th February 2012.


  1. I’ve just learnt from the good folk at MacroBusiness blog that, the ABS conduct ‘Labour Force Surveys’ to determine the unemployment rate.

    Now I can see how they get a rate of 5.1%.

    Oh Boy!

  2. Roy Morgans definition of unemployment sounds more accurate than how the ABS defines it. Does Australia use the same definition as Spain which has over 22% unemployment?

  3. These stats do not reflect truth. Over the years many households have needed 2 incomes, when one loses work they do not appear on the unemployment register, because there is no benefit available if a spouse is in work. In my area this is very common. Also, very few over 50s appear in the stats as many have made enough to just take care of themselves and others are moved over to other pension payments to knead the stats into good PR. But there are more employed people than ever before, I hear some say, well, if you count working 1 hour a week as working, then maybe, but that is plainly ridiculous and shows clearly the stats are a joke. They are a manipulation bearing no relation to real world which politicians are not interested in anyway. Use the same rule as Government budget expenditure forecasts, just double it.

  4. If you know someone that has lost their job – its a recession.
    If you lose your job its a depression.

    Wealth destruction is now in full force. Government is doing a great job hollowing out the country. Thats right, take the person’s money from them and they are powerless.

    If you believe the propaganda on mass media, have a good life.

    Government statistics are there for propaganda purposes only. Ask yourself why are we being fed this rubbish? Like the Rudd challenge???? WTF

  5. No statistics made public by the Federal government should be believed. They are all doctored. Everybody who buys food knows we have rampant inflation. The longer interests rates are held artificially low and money is printed, the worse things will get. Real unemployment in Australia is around 15% if you include underemployed, close to Depression levels.

  6. Nah, its easy to see what is going on…..

    Real estate agents are now handling job figure reporting as well as that of reporting clearance rates of properties…..

    All truth and no bull here folks !

  7. @Douglas,

    Regarding the ABS guestimating the unemployment rate does not need fudging. Actually I should state correctly, the fudge factor in built in to the guestimation method. As I have learnt, the ABS does not utilitise, doesn’t even go anywhere near CentreLink data.

    The ABS conducts a ‘Labour Force Survey’ every month. They ask several questions, I don’t know how many questions and how they all branch off down their ‘Yes’ – ‘No’ flowchart stream. It goes something like this;

    Are you over 15?
    No – Go no further
    Yes – Next Question

    Did you work 1 hour in the survey week?
    Yes – You’re employed (Good Boy Douglas, or BotRot, or WhoCrashedTheEconomy,…, etc)
    No – Next Question

    Did you seek work?
    Yes – * See further down
    No – Next Question

    Are you willing to work?
    Yes – * See further down
    No – ^ See Classification below

    Depending on what the surveyor ticked with respect to your answers, you are clssified as follows (^);

    – Employed
    – Unemployed
    – No even in the workforce

    The two Yes answers with the *, you’re unemployed.

    So those that claim or state the ABS does *NOT* fudge unemployment statistics, are correct. The fudge is built into the method.

    Also, this methodology is globally used by many (all?) developed (soon not to be) economies. It was adopted here by the Hawke-Keating Government, and what a blessing they found it to be, they reduced unemployment (wink, wink).

    I’d hate (love actually) to see how all other stats are guestimated. You’re right on about the unemployment. As for under-employment, who is counting that?

  8. I forgot to mention the Government did utilise CentreLink, I think back then it was either the Department of Social Security (DSS), or could have been the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) data. Since Hawke-Keating reduced unemployment (see above), the methodolgy above is still to this day being used.

  9. My mate is on 250k per annum salary and is selling his house because he can’t keep up with repayments on a $1m mortgage. I would suggest that sellers start reducing their asking prices by 20-40% to avoid a collapse

  10. “Real estate agents are now handling job figure reporting as well as that of reporting clearance rates of properties”

    Romsey, I read this comment and LMAO. Very funny….. +1000….. Your probably right….:)

  11. Those ABS figures are a joke, there’s no way employment is that strong. Jobs are going left right and centre. The Roy Morgan figures at least are independent not government fudged vested interest like the ABS. This thread on APF tracks the job losses over the past two years and there are a damn lot of them…..


    This trend will accelerate as the economy nosedives into recession. One thing is certain, house prices are doomed.

  12. You are all mad, how dare you question the integrity of the ABS Joesgh Goebbels department on employment.
    Shut up and go waste your weekend watching footy/cricket and glue your arse to the TV to get the Sandra Bullock rerun from the Zionist Hollywood productions.
    Nothing to see here, while we control and run your lives for the benefit of a few elitists that you not be concerned with.
    Long live the Illuminati !!!!!!

    I want to be a freemason.

  13. To all the commentators here – thank you for your comments. It is good to know that I am not the only person who thinks all these statistics are skewed.

    Sadly, if only we had a better educated populace who would not fall for the housing bubble started by the 1988 introduction of the FHB Grant by the then-Govermnent.

    Of course, good ol’ Johnnie Howard (walk on, I say!) spruiked things up all over the place by doubling the grant and the average Aussie followed in good faith getting into horrendous debt for piles of badly put-together bricks.

    Anyway, it is sad to see so man people out of work – but then, being a ‘democracy’, we have only ourselves to blame, just as the denizens of the USA have only their own warmongering to blame for 9/11.

    We Aussies are a bunch of people who confuse civility with the lack of a backbone…

  14. @No Speculators (Now there’s a name which means, ‘World of Beauty’),

    Yes, there is no way employment is that strong. In an economy with full employment, there still is an unemployment rate of about 2%. This is economic friction of people moving between jobs. In this scenario it takes people no more than 2 months to find other work. This 2% travels constantly.

    Taking this into account, that is neglecting this friction, there is no hope in hell nor heaven, unemployment here is a little over 3%.

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