Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/03/2003   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE

The civilian population can be split into two mutually exclusive groups: the labour force (employed and unemployed persons) and persons not in the labour force.

Persons not in the labour force can be split into those who are marginally attached to the labour force, and those who are not. Persons who are marginally attached may satisfy some, but not all, of the criteria required to be classified as unemployed.

Persons not in the labour force are considered to be marginally attached to the labour force if they:

  • want to work and are actively looking for work but are not available to start work in the reference week
  • want to work and are not actively looking for work but are available to start work within four weeks.

Persons not in the labour force are not marginally attached if they:
  • do not want to work
  • want to work but are not actively looking and are not available to start work within four weeks.

Image


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

OVERVIEW

In September 2002, there were 3,826,800 persons aged 15-69 years who were not in the labour force. This represented 28% of the civilian population in this age group. Of those not in the labour force, almost two-thirds (64%) were female.

Between September 2001 and September 2002, the number of males who were not in the labour force rose by 56,800 (4%) and the number of females who were not in the labour force rose by 4,800 (0.2%). The net rise of 61,600 persons represents an increase of just over 1.6%. The number of persons with marginal attachment to the labour force decreased by 1% between September 2001 and September 2002, and follows on from a 1% decrease in the corresponding previous twelve month period.

The proportion of persons who were not in the labour force varied according to age. In the 15-19 years age group, where there are high levels of participation in education, the proportion was 40% for both males and females. In all other age groups, there were more 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 to 54 years, before increasing sharply to 50% for those aged 55-59 years. For males, the proportion progressively increased after the 35-44 years range.

Graph - Persons not in the labour force, proportion of the civilian population



MARGINAL ATTACHMENT

Of the 808,100 persons who had marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2002, 92% were not actively looking for work but were available to start work within four weeks. The remainder were actively looking for work but were not available to start work in the reference week.

Some 22% of females and 19% of males not in the labour force had a marginal attachment to the labour force. The proportion with marginal attachment decreased by one percentage point for both males and females from September 2001.

Over two-thirds (69%) of females with marginal attachment to the labour force would have preferred part-time work, while 17% preferred full-time work. Males in this group were more evenly distributed, with 45% preferring part-time work and 37% preferring full-time work. The remainder had no preference, or were undecided.


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' (27%) and 'own ill health or physical disability' (17%). The most commonly reported reasons for females were 'childcare' (30%) and 'attending an educational institution' (14%).


Discouraged jobseekers

At September 2002 there were 78,000 discouraged jobseekers. Sixty seven per cent of these said that they intended to enter the labour force in the next 12 months. Females made up more than two-thirds of all discouraged jobseekers (69%). Of male discouraged jobseekers who previously had a job, 6% had not had a job for 10 years or more, compared with 29% for females.

Ninety six per cent of discouraged jobseekers were aged under 65 years of age. Females made up 69% of all discouraged jobseekers under 65 years of age, with half (50%) of these in the 35-54 age group. Of male discouraged jobseekers under 65, 41% were aged 55-64 years.

For all discouraged jobseekers, the main reasons reported for not actively looking for work were 'considered too young or too old by employers' (37%), 'no jobs in locality or line of work' (23%) and 'lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience' (22%). For female discouraged jobseekers, 26% gave the reason 'lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience' compared to 14% of males. Thirty two per cent of males gave the reason 'no jobs in locality or line or work' compared to 19% of females.


PERSONS WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT

Of the 3,018,700 persons who were without marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2002, the majority (83%) were persons who did not want to work, while a further 5% were permanently unable to work. Of those persons who did not want to work, 34% said their main activity was 'home duties or childcare', 28% said 'retired or voluntarily inactive', and 19% said 'attending an educational institution'.

There were 361,200 persons who wanted to work but were neither actively looking for work nor available to start work within four weeks. Forty three per cent reported that their main activity was 'home duties or childcare', while 27% said 'attending and educational institution'. Twenty four per cent of persons who wanted to work but were neither actively looking for work nor available to start work within four weeks, reported that they had a job less than 12 months ago. Of these 361,200 persons, almost two-thirds (64%) were females.

1 See 'Available to start work within four weeks' in Glossary.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.