6226.0 - Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia, February 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/08/2017   
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EXTENDED LABOUR FORCE UNDERUTILISATION RATE

Introduction

The number of unemployed people and the unemployment rate are both measures that are widely used as indicators of available labour resources which are not currently being utilised in the economy. Despite the high profile of the unemployment rate, no single measure can fully capture the complexity of underutilisation in the labour market.

The ABS therefore publishes a number of supplementary measures of labour underutilisation on a regular basis to better inform users about the structure and dynamics of the labour market. The measures are:

    • underemployment rate - the number of people underemployed expressed as a proportion of the labour force;
    • labour force underutilisation rate - the unemployed, plus the underemployed, expressed as a proportion of the labour force; and
    • extended labour force underutilisation rate - the unemployed, plus the underemployed, plus two groups of persons marginally attached to the labour force, expressed as a proportion of the labour force augmented by the two groups of marginally attached persons.

The quarterly underemployment and labour force underutilisation rates are both available in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). The extended labour force underutilisation rate was first released in the Measures of Labour Underutilisation Information Paper, February 2002 (cat. no. 6296.0) and previously published annually in Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).

Extended labour force underutilisation rate components

In addition to the unemployed and the underemployed, the extended labour force underutilisation rate includes two groups of people with marginal attachment to the labour force, namely:
    1. people who are actively looking for work and who could start within four weeks, but are not available to start in the reference week; and
    2. discouraged job seekers.

Most components of the extended labour force underutilisation rate are sourced from the monthly Labour Force Survey, with the exception of discouraged job seekers, which is only available from the Participation, Job Search and Mobility Survey, in respect of February of each year.

Extended labour force underutilisation rate at February 2017

In February 2017, the extended labour force underutilisation rate was 15.4%. This rate was higher for females than males (17.8% and 13.3% respectively) due to a higher rate of underemployment amongst females than males and a larger number of females than males being marginally attached to the labour force.

For more information, please refer to the Special Table in the Participation, Job Search and Mobility, 2017 (cat. no. 6226.0) available from the Downloads tab.