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Business News

Australian unemployment drops to 7.8% in June – equal lowest since the pandemic began

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Australian unemployment drops to 7.8% in June – equal lowest since the pandemic began

In June unemployment dropped for a second straight month, down 0.3% points to 7.8%, according to the latest Roy Morgan employment series data. The drop in unemployment was driven by increasing full-time jobs which boosted the overall number of employed Australians.

Unemployment in June fell 44,000 to 1.13 million Australians (7.8% of the workforce) while under-employment was down slightly by 13,000 to 1.23 million (8.5% of the workforce). Overall unemployment and under-employment fell 57,000 to 2.35 million (16.3% of the workforce).

  • The workforce was up 78,000 in June driven by increasing employment:

The workforce in June was 14,491,000 (up 78,000 from May) – comprised of 13,366,000 employed Australians (up 122,000) and 1,125,000 unemployed Australians looking for work (down 44,000).

  • Rise in employment driven by increase in full-time employment:

Australian employment increased by 122,000 to 13,366,000 in June driven by an increase in full-time employment, up 363,000 to 8,876,000. This represents a new all-time high for full-time employment during the first full month of the new Albanese Government. In contrast, part-time employment fell by 241,000 to 4,490,000 in June, falling back near to its level in April prior to the spike caused by the Federal Election during May.

  • The strong rise in full-time employment led to the decline in unemployment in June:

1,125,000 Australians were unemployed (7.8% of the workforce), a decrease of 44,000 from May with fewer people looking for full-time work, down 68,000 to 409,000, while in contrast there was a small rise in those looking for part-time work, up 24,000 to 716,000.

  • Under-employment was virtually unchanged down slightly in June at 1.23 million:

In addition to the unemployed, 1.23 million Australians (8.5% of the workforce) were under-employed – working part-time but looking for more work, down just 13,000 from May.

In total 2.35 million Australians (16.3% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in June, down 57,000 on May.

 

Compared to early March 2020, before the nation-wide lockdown, in June 2022 there were almost 200,000 more Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+0.7% points) even though overall employment (13,366,000) is almost 500,000 higher than it was pre-COVID-19 (12,872,000).

Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 7.8% for June is double the ABS estimate for May 2022 of 3.9%. However, the ABS figure for May show there were 780,500 workers who worked fewer hours than usual due to illness, personal injury or sick leave compared to an average of 407,540 for the month of May over the five years from May 2017 – May 2021.

This difference, which can be put down to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, equates to a difference of 372,960 in May 2022 above the average for the month of May for the previous five years. If these workers are added to the 548,100 classified as unemployed this creates a total of 921,060 – equivalent to 6.6% of the workforce. In addition, the ABS classifies 5.7% of the workforce (approximately 808,000 workers) as under-employed. Combining these figures adds to 1.73 million workers, around 12.3% of the workforce.

 

Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment (2019-2022)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – June 2022. Average monthly interviews 5,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.

 

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says unemployment the news was goof on the employment front for the new ALP Government in June with full-time employment hitting a new record high and driving unemployment to its lowest since October 2019:

“The latest Roy Morgan employment estimates for June show full-time employment up 363,000 to 8,876,000 in June – a new record high. The increase in full-time employment drove overall employment up by 122,000 to 13,366,000 even as part-time employment fell in June following the temporary spike seen in May due to the Federal Election.

“The strong employment result drove unemployment down to 1,125,000 (7.8% of the workforce) – the lowest level of unemployment since October 2019 well before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are an additional 1,226,000 Australians (8.5% of the workforce) now under-employed which means there are still a large cohort of 2.35 million Australians now unemployed or under-employed.

“Although the news on the employment front is positive in the first month of the new ALP Government there are clearly several challenges facing policymakers over the next few months including rising inflationary pressures, the RBA increasing interest rates to quell inflation and the reliability (and cost) of the Australian energy market – particularly along the east coast.

“These challenges are all inter-related and can all lead to an increasing level of unemployment in the future if they aren’t dealt with. For the foreseeable future the global prices of energy and food are set to continue to increase due to the conflict in Ukraine as well as domestic factors such as the recent floods in Queensland and NSW.

“On the domestic front the wild weather seen in many parts of Australia will hopefully abate over the next few months allowing food prices to normalise but a key priority for the Government must be to bring certainty to the domestic energy market.

“By stabilising the domestic gas and electricity market the Government can reduce upward price pressure on these key energy inputs which will lower inflation pressures and allow the RBA to end its interest rate increasing cycle sooner than some may expect.

“If the Albanese Government allows Australia’s energy situation to deteriorate further over the next few months, and years, they will end up causing persistently higher inflation in the economy which will most certainly put their re-election in three years’ time at risk.”

 

Roy Morgan Unemployed and ‘Under-employed’* Estimates

  Unemployed or

‘Under-employed’*

Unemployed Unemployed looking for ‘Under-employed’*
Full-time Part-time
2021 ‘000 % ‘000 % ‘000 ‘000 ‘000 %
Jan-Mar 2021 2,971 20.6 1,750 12.1 717 1,033 1,222 8.5
Apr-Jun 2021 2,688 18.3 1,398 9.5 574 824 1,290 8.8
Jul-Sep 2021 2,573 17.7 1,350 9.3 547 803 1,224 8.4
Oct-Dec 2021 2,586 17.8 1,301 9.0 537 764 1,286 8.9
2022                
Jan-Mar 2022 2,380 16.4 1,187 8.2 438 749 1,193 8.2
Apr-Jun 2022 2,467 17.0 1,235 8.5 482 753 1,232 8.5
Months                
May 2021 2,749 18.9 1,493 10.3 558 935 1,256 8.6
June 2021 2,651 17.9 1,394 9.4 570 824 1,257 8.5
July 2021 2,756 18.8 1,422 9.7 619 803 1,334 9.1
August 2021 2,537 17.7 1,362 9.5 492 870 1,175 8.2
September 2021 2,428 16.7 1,265 8.7 530 735 1,163 8.0
October 2021 2,547 17.8 1,320 9.2 471 849 1,227 8.6
November 2021 2,536 17.5 1,330 9.2 583 748 1,206 8.3
December 2021 2,676 18.2 1,252 8.5 557 695 1,424 9.7
January 2022 2,427 16.6 1,201 8.2 464 737 1,226 8.4
February 2022 2,357 16.3 1,227 8.5 463 764 1,130 7.8
March 2022 2,356 16.2 1,133 7.8 387 746 1,223 8.4
April 2022 2,641 18.1 1,411 9.7 559 852 1,230 8.4
May 2022 2,408 16.7 1,169 8.1 477 692 1,239 8.6
June 2022 2,351 16.3 1,125 7.8 409 716 1,226 8.5

*Workforce includes those employed and those looking for work – the unemployed.

 

This Roy Morgan survey on Australia’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly interviews of 839,202 Australians aged 14 and over between January 2007 and June 2022 and includes 5,913 telephone and online interviews in June 2022. *The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or freelancers who are looking for more work.

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Business News

Australian unemployment dropped in March as part-time jobs surged; but this caused an increase in under-employment

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Australian unemployment

Australian unemployment dropped in March as part-time jobs surged; but this caused an increase in under-employment

 

In March 2024, ‘real’ Australian unemployment dropped 78,000 to 1,358,000 (down 0.5% to 8.7% of the workforce) as employment reached an all-time high of over 14.2 million.

However, the composition of the workforce changed – part-time employment surged 295,000 (up 6.1%) to 5,164,000 (a new record high). Unfortunately, there was a substantial decrease in full-time employment, down 256,000 (down 2.7%) to 9,103,000 as the composition of the employment market changed significantly.

The rise in part-time employment was correlated to the increase in under-employment, up 75,000 to 1576,000 (10.1%, up 0.5%). In total a massive 2.93 million Australians (18.8%, unchanged) were unemployed or under-employed in March.

The March Roy Morgan Unemployment estimates were obtained by surveying an Australia-wide cross section of people aged 14+. A person is classified as unemployed if they are looking for work, no matter when. The ‘real’ unemployment rate is presented as a percentage of the workforce (employed & unemployed).

  • Employment reaches new record high of over 14.2 million in March:

Australian employment increased 39,000 to 14,267,000 in March. Part-time employment drove the increase, up 295,000 (up 6.1%) to a new record high of 5,164,000 while full-time employment dropped 256,000 (down 2.7%) to 9,103,000.

  • Australian Unemployment dropped in March with 78,000 fewer looking for work:

In March 1,358,000 Australians were unemployed (8.7% of the workforce, down 0.5%), a decrease of 78,000 from February driven by fewer people looking for part-time work. There were 763,000 (down 70,000) looking for part-time work and 595,000 (down 8,000) looking for full-time work.

  • Overall unemployment and under-employment was unchanged in March at 18.8%:

In addition to the unemployed, a further 1.58 million Australians (10.1% of the workforce) were under-employed, i.e. working part-time but looking for more work, up 75,000 from February. In total 2.93 million Australians (18.8% of the workforce) were either unemployed or under-employed in March.

  • Comparisons with a year ago show rapidly increasing workforce driving employment growth:

The workforce in March was 15,625,000 (down 39,000 from February, but up a massive 641,000 from a year ago) – comprised of 14,267,000 employed Australians (up 39,000 from a month ago) and 1,358,000 unemployed Australians looking for work (down 78,000).

Although unemployment and under-employment remain high at 2.93 million, there has been a surge in employment over the last year – up by 693,000 to a new record high of 14,267,000.

Australian unemployment

Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment (2019-2024)
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2019 – March 2024. Average monthly interviews 5,000.
Note: Roy Morgan unemployment estimates are actual data while the ABS estimates are seasonally adjusted.

Compared to four years ago in early March 2020, in March 2024 there were almost 800,000 more Australians either unemployed or under-employed (+3.2% points) even though overall employment (14,267,000) is almost 1.4 million higher than it was pre-COVID-19 (12,872,000).

ABS Comparison

Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 8.7% is more than double the ABS estimate of 3.7% for February but is approaching the combined ABS unemployment and under-employment figure of 10.3%.

The latest monthly figures from the ABS indicate that the people working fewer hours in February 2024 due to illness, injury or sick leave was 521,700. This is around 140,000 higher than the pre-pandemic average of the five years to February 2019 (382,100) – a difference of 139,600.

If this higher than pre-pandemic average of workers (139,600) is added to the combined ABS unemployment and under-employment figure of 1,533,000 we find a total of 1,673,600 people could be considered unemployed or under-employed, equivalent to 11.3% of the workforce.

 

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Construction Giant LVX Global Group Enters Administration, Putting 25 Jobs at Risk

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LVX Global Group

Construction Giant LVX Global Group Enters Administration, Putting 25 Jobs at Risk

 

In a significant development within the Australian construction sector, a prominent company, formerly valued at $30 million just nine months ago, has entered administration, placing 25 jobs in jeopardy.

LVX Global Group, a leading infrastructure engineering firm headquartered in Australia, took a drastic step on Wednesday morning as five of its subsidiary companies appointed administrators in a bid to revamp their financial situation. Specialising in strategy, engineering, and project management within the building sector, LVX operates primarily from its headquarters in Adelaide and boasts a global presence across more than 20 countries.

Having contributed to major national projects such as Brisbane Airport and Sydney’s Botanical Gardens, LVX has also collaborated with the Sunshine Coast Council on crucial initiatives like lighting, communications, and electrical services for the Mooloolaba seafront. Despite its illustrious portfolio, LVX now finds itself in dire straits, with administrators actively seeking potential buyers for the entire business or select assets while the fate of 25 employees hangs precariously in the balance.

LVX Global Group CEO Corey Gray

LVX Global Group CEO Corey Gray

The company’s decline from its former glory is particularly striking given recent reports suggesting plans for a lucrative stock exchange debut through an initial public offering, which pegged its value at $30 million. Now, Ken Whittingham and Mark Robinson from insolvency firm Fort Restructuring have stepped in as administrators to navigate LVX through these turbulent times.

In their statement to news.com.au, the administrators indicated that while LVX has several national projects currently underway, decisions regarding their continuation remain pending. Expressing a commitment to explore all viable options, the administrators are actively pursuing a sale of LVX as a “going concern” and are open to considering a deed of company arrangement (DOCA) to potentially salvage the situation.

Amidst earlier plans for capital raising and optimistic revenue forecasts, LVX’s financial performance took a nosedive, with revenues totalling $13.3 million in the 2022 financial year—a significant increase from $7 million in the previous comparable period. Despite projections of $15 million in revenue for the 2023 financial year, internal presentations from last year painted a different picture, highlighting the company’s downward spiral.

LVX’s unfortunate downturn adds to a growing trend of national construction companies grappling with financial woes. Earlier instances include Rork Projects, facing debts nearing $30 million across multiple states, and Project Coordination, a seasoned industry player with half a century of operations, which succumbed to administration just two weeks ago, further underscoring the widespread crisis plaguing the construction sector.

 

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CSIRO invests $20 million to drive SME innovation

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SME innovation

CSIRO invests $20 million to drive SME innovation

 

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has committed a substantial $20 million investment aimed at enhancing access to crucial research and development (R&D) opportunities for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with the goal of fostering their growth and innovation.

This funding infusion will empower CSIRO’s SME Connect team to support up to 750 SMEs through an array of comprehensive programs and initiatives. These initiatives encompass facilitation, training, dollar-matched funding, and assistance for start-ups and SMEs seeking engagement in company-led research projects.

Among the supported programs is CSIRO Kick-Start, a flagship initiative of SME Connect. Since its inception in 2017, the Kick-Start program has facilitated over 280 company-led R&D projects, boasting alumni companies with a collective market value exceeding $2 billion.

Dr. Doug Hilton, Chief Executive of CSIRO, underscores the profound significance of this investment and its transformative potential for Australia’s critical SME sector. He emphasizes the pivotal role SMEs play in driving Australia’s future, serving as bastions of innovation and solutions to societal challenges.

Dr. Hilton states, “CSIRO’s fundamental role as the national science agency is to create benefits for Australia, including driving SME productivity, sustainability, and growth through enhanced access to R&D opportunities and research support, fostering a resilient and diverse economy.”

SMEs constitute the backbone of Australia’s economy, accounting for 99.8% of businesses, contributing over half of the gross domestic product (GDP), and employing 68% of the private sector workforce.

CSIRO’s SME Connect team has a proven track record of supporting start-ups and SMEs across various industry sectors, including technology, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy, health, and biosecurity.

Simon Hanson, Director of CSIRO’s SME Connect, highlights how this investment bolsters Australian innovation by providing practical avenues for SMEs to leverage the expertise and facilities of the national science agency. He stresses the importance of collaboration between industry and the research sector for the longevity and success of Australian SMEs.

Hanson notes, “This funding enables us to bridge the gap between industry and academia, fostering meaningful collaborations and facilitating innovation and growth within the SME ecosystem.”

Goterra, an award-winning start-up based in Canberra, exemplifies the success stories emerging from CSIRO’s SME Connect programs. Olympia Yarger, Founder of Goterra and a CSIRO Kick-Start alumni company, developed an innovative waste management system utilizing insects to process food waste, resulting in a 97% reduction in greenhouse gases.

Yarger lauds CSIRO’s Kick-Start program for connecting Goterra with leading scientists who provided world-class research capabilities and pivotal support in exploring business opportunities, alternative technological advancements, and industry connections.

For businesses intrigued by the potential of R&D to address their challenges, CSIRO’s SME Connect offers a suite of programs tailored to support R&D initiatives. These include CSIRO Kick-Start, Innovate to Grow, Generation STEM Links, RISE Accelerator, and the Collaboration Readiness Levels tool.

For further information on CSIRO’s SME Connect programs, visit their website here.

Sidebar:

  1. CSIRO’s commitment to fostering SME innovation through R&D funding.
  2. Success stories like Goterra, showcasing the tangible benefits of CSIRO’s programs for SMEs.
  3. The diverse range of industry sectors supported by CSIRO’s SME Connect initiatives, promoting innovation across various fields.

 

For more business news, click here.

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