ABS April Unemployment estimate doesn’t reflect reality. ABS claims 594,000 lose their jobs but only 104,000 become unemployed (?!?)

Original article by Gary Morgan, Michele Levine, Julian McCrann
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 15-May-20

Yesterday the ABS released its April employment estimates. The ABS estimates that 12,419,000 Australians were employed in April, down 594,000 on March. There were sharp falls for both full-time and part-time employed. The ABS estimate Australian unemployment increased by only 104,000 to 823,000 in April (6.2% of the workforce, up 1%). Australians will be asking, how can the ABS say 594,000 have lost their jobs in April but only 104,000 become unemployed? This is because the ABS claim 490,000 people left the workforce in April. i.e. the ABS claims these people lost their jobs and weren’t then looking for work and available to start work during the reference week. These workers are unemployed – NOT out of the workforce. So the workforce size in April should match the March estimate of 66%. The real ABS unemployment estimate for April is closer to 1.35 million (9.8%) – an increase of 4.6% points. Combined with the estimated ABS under-employment of 1.82 million (13.7%) means a combined unemployment and under-employment of 3.16 million (23.5%). This is much closer to the Roy Morgan April employment estimates showing 2.16 million Australians (15.3%) were unemployed and a total of 3.48 million (24.7%) were either unemployed or under-employed.


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