Australian Unemployment Analysis: August 2023

⚡️ Highlights:

Here are the top 5 takeaways from the article:

1. Unemployment in Australia increased to 11% in August, the highest rate in over two years since March 2021 during the pandemic.

2. Full-time employment in Australia fell by 274,000 in August, while part-time employment increased by 142,000.

3. The number of Australians looking for both full-time and part-time work increased significantly in August, reaching their highest levels since March 2021.

4. The workforce in Australia increased by almost 500,000 from a year ago to over 15.3 million people.

5. The overall unemployment and under-employment rate in Australia increased by 1.5% points to 20.1% in August, with a total of 3.08 million Australians considered unemployed or under-employed.

Please note that these takeaways are based on the information provided in the article and may not encompass all the details of the topic.

Executive Summary

In August 2023, Australia witnessed a significant surge in unemployment rates, reaching a peak not seen since the heart of the pandemic period in March 2021. The detailed report delineates the unemployment and underemployment statistics, offering a meticulous analysis grounded in a comprehensive survey conducted across a diverse demographic of Australians aged 14 and above.

Key Findings

  • Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate escalated to 11%, representing approximately 1.7 million Australians, a surge of 1.9% from the preceding month. This rate is derived from a meticulous survey encompassing a diverse cross-section of Australians aged 14 and above.
  • Employment Dynamics: August saw a decrement in full-time employment by 274,000, settling at 8,796,000, while part-time employment experienced a growth of 142,000, amounting to 4,852,000.
  • Workforce Expansion: The workforce witnessed a substantial expansion, increasing by nearly 500,000 compared to the previous year, totaling over 15.3 million individuals.
  • Underemployment: Alongside the unemployed populace, 1.4 million Australians were underemployed, translating to 9.1% of the workforce, a slight decrease from July.
  • Comparative Analysis with ABS Data: Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 11% significantly surpasses the ABS estimate of 3.7% for July, aligning more closely with the combined ABS data for unemployment and underemployment, which stands at 10.1%.

Expert Commentary

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, emphasized the critical role of the rapid population increase in the past year, influencing the labor market dynamics. She highlighted the challenges posed by high inflation and rising interest rates, noting the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) efforts to mitigate inflation through interest rate hikes. Levine expressed optimism regarding the recent stabilization of interest rates and the downward trend in inflation rates, anticipating a favorable economic climate under the stewardship of the incoming RBA Governor, Michele Bullock.


The findings are grounded in a robust methodology involving weekly interviews of 925,201 Australians from January 2007 to August 2023, including 6,029 interviews conducted in August 2023. The survey delineates both unemployment and underemployment figures, offering a comprehensive view of the Australian employment landscape.


The August 2023 unemployment report unveils a critical period in the Australian employment sector, marked by a significant rise in unemployment and underemployment rates. The detailed analysis offers a deep dive into the current dynamics, providing stakeholders with essential data to navigate the evolving landscape.

For further insights and detailed data, the full report is available for download on the Roy Morgan website.

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