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4914.0.55.001 - Newsletter: Age Matters, Apr 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/05/2004   
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PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE

The following selected findings have been taken from the ABS publication Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6220.0), which was released on 17 March 2004.

Introduction

In September 2003, there were 3,862,600 persons aged 15-69 years who were not in the labour force. This represented 28% of the civilian population, a proportion which has remained steady over the last few years. Just under one-third (31%) of persons not in the labour force wanted to work and almost two-thirds (64%) of persons not in the labour force were female.

The proportion of persons who were not in the labour force varied according to age and sex. In the 15-19 years age group, where there are high levels of participation in education, the proportion was 41% for both males and females. In all other age groups, there was a higher proportion of females than males not in the labour force. The proportion of females who were not in the labour force remained steady at around 27% for those aged 25-54 years, before increasing sharply to 48% for those aged 55-59 years. For males, the proportion ranged from 8% to 12% for those aged 25-54 years, increasing to 25% for those aged 55-59 years.


Graph - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Proportion of the Civilian Population
Main reason for not actively looking for work

The reasons for not actively looking for work most commonly reported by males were 'attending an educational institution' (33%) and 'own ill health or physical disability' (19%). The most commonly reported reasons for females in this group were 'child-care' (30%) and 'attending an educational institution' (16%).

Discouraged jobseekers

At September 2003 there were 79,800 discouraged jobseekers. Characteristics of discouraged jobseekers in September 2003 include:
  • 67% were female
  • 43% of male and 28% of female discouraged jobseekers had looked for work in the previous 13 weeks
  • 78% of male and 67% of female discouraged jobseekers intended to enter the labour force in the next 12 months
  • 86% of discouraged jobseekers had worked before, with almost a third (30%) of males and 14% of females having had a job in the previous 12 months.

The main reasons reported by discouraged jobseekers for not actively looking for work were 'considered too young or too old by employers' (33%), 'no jobs in locality or line of work' (27%) and 'lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience' (23%). For female discouraged jobseekers, 26% gave the reason 'lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience', compared to 17% of males. Thirty-two per cent of males gave the reason 'no jobs in locality or line or work', compared to 25% of females. Forty percent of males gave the reason 'considered too young or too old by employers' compared with 30% of females.

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Labour Force and Supplementary Surveys section on Canberra (02) 6252 7206.

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