Roy Morgan rates unemployment highest in 20 years

Roy Morgan has rated Australian unemployment at its highest level since 1994, estimating that 1.561 million Australians are currently out of work.

According to the research firm, national unemployment is up 1.4 per cent year-over-year, following a significant 1 per cent monthly increase in February. 

"The continuing rise in unemployment – which has now increased in eight out of the last ten months since hitting a low of 9.3 per cent in April 2013 – is a huge concern for the Abbott Government as it gets set to deliver its first Federal Budget in two months' time," said Roy Morgan CEO Gary Morgan in a statement. 

"These job losses attract the headlines, but smaller businesses are also shedding jobs – and as the Roy Morgan figures show, younger Australians are finding it harder and harder to find employment."

Roy Morgan estimates that 28 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds in Australia are now unemployed. In comparison, unemployment for the 25 to 34 and 35 to 49 demographics is at 12.4 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively. 

The figures become even more startling when underemployment is taken into account. According to Roy Morgan, 2.641 million Australians – more than 20.8 per cent of the national workforce – were either unemployed or underemployed in February.

That is the highest number Roy Morgan has ever recorded, and Mr Morgan has attributed this result to "over-regulation".

"It is imperative that Treasurer Joe Hockey and Minister for Employment Eric Abetz in particular present Parliament with a clear 'road-map' to tackle Australia's high level of unemployment and under-employment – now above 2.6 million Australians," he said.

As usual, Roy Morgan's unemployment figures were significantly higher than those reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS recorded an unemployment rate of 6 per cent for the month of January, with February figures expected to be released in the next few days.

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