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6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, Feb 2011 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/08/2011   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


ALL PERSONS

In February 2011, there were 17.9 million persons aged 15 years and over. During the 12 months to February 2011, 75% of these persons did not change their labour force status. Other characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over at February 2011 included:

  • 12.3 million persons worked at some time during the year, of whom 8.2 million (67%) spent the whole year working;
  • 1.7 million persons looked for work at some time during the year, of whom 143,900 (8%) spent the whole year looking for work; and
  • 8.9 million persons were classified as 'Not in the labour force' at some time during the year, of whom 5.0 million (57%) remained 'Not in the labour force' for the whole of this 12 month period.


Participation in the labour force

There were 12.9 million persons aged 15 years and over who participated in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2011 (78% of males and 66% of females). That is, 72% of Australians aged 15 years and over either worked or looked for work at some time during this period (the same as in 2009).

Of the persons who were in the labour force at some time during the 12 months ending February 2011, 70% spent the whole year in the labour force and 17% spent from 39 to under 52 weeks in the labour force.

The persons with the highest proportion of participation in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2011 were those aged 20-34 years (89%), closely followed by 35-44 year olds (88%) and 45-54 year olds (87%).

Labour force participation during the year ending February 2009, Proportion of the civilian population — Age group (years)-By sex
Graph: LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Proportion of the civilian population–Age group (years)–By sex


Participation for males was at a higher rate than females in all age groups except for those aged 15-19, where participation for females (71%) was at a slightly higher rate than for males (67%). Among males, the age group with the highest rate of participation was those aged 25-34 (95%), whilst for females it was those aged 20-24 (86%).


PERSONS WHO WORKED AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

Some 12.3 million persons aged 15 years and over worked at some time during the year ending February 2011. Of these, 6.6 million (54%) were males and 5.7 million (46%) were females. Approximately 70% of the males worked for the entire 52 weeks, compared to 63% of the females.

Of those persons who worked at some time during the year ending February 2011:
  • 65% only worked full-time hours (77% of males and 50% of females);
  • 26% only worked part-time hours (14% of males and 39% of females); and
  • 10% worked a combination of full-time and part-time hours (9% of males and 11% of females).

Persons who worked only full-time during the year were more likely to work all year and less likely to change employers or businesses than those who only worked part-time.

The majority of persons (80%) who only worked full-time worked for the whole year, compared to 42% of persons who only worked part-time hours.

The majority of persons (79%) who worked at some time during the year ending February 2011 had only one employer or business during the 12 months. About 21% of persons who only worked part-time hours had two or more employers or businesses during the year, compared to 17% of persons who only worked full-time.


PERSONS WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 1.7 million persons aged 15 years and over who looked for work at some time during the year ending February 2011 (906,800 males and 798,800 females). Of these, 69% also worked during the year.

Of those persons who looked for work at some time during this 12 month period:
  • 16% looked for work from 1 to under 4 weeks;
  • 37% looked for work from 4 to under 13 weeks;
  • 18% looked for work from 13 to under 26 weeks;
  • 20% looked for work from 26 to under 52 weeks; and
  • 8% looked for work the whole year.

For the majority of these persons (75%), the time spent looking for work during this 12 month period was over a single period or spell, however some persons had a number of spells of looking for work.
  • 11% had 2 spells looking for work; and
  • 14% had 3 or more spells looking for work.
Mean duration of time spent looking for work, By age group (years) — By sex
Graph: Mean duration of time spent looking for work, By age group (years)—By sex


The mean duration of time spent looking for work was 17.5 weeks (up from 15.9 weeks in 2009). On average, females who looked for work spent less time doing so (16.7 weeks) than males (18.2 weeks). On average, those aged 55 years and over tended to spend the most time looking for work (22 weeks), while those aged 15-19 years spent the least time (15.2 weeks).


PERSONS WHO WERE NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 8.9 million persons aged 15 years and over who were outside the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2011. Of these:
  • 58% were females;
  • 57% remained outside the labour force for the whole of this 12 month period; and
  • 24% were not in the labour force from 1 to under 13 weeks.
Main activity when not in the labour force — By sex
Graph: Main activity when not in the labour force—By sex


The main activities most commonly reported by persons while outside the labour force were:
  • 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (30% of males and 21% of females);
  • 'Holiday, travel or leisure activities' (22% of males and 14% of females);
  • 'Attended an educational institution' (20% of males and 15% of females); and
  • 'Home duties' (6% of males and 26% of females).


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