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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Labour force experience

The Labour Force Experience Survey is a two-yearly survey of the civilian population in Australia aged 15-69 years. The survey provides information on labour force activity over a 12-month period, including how many weeks people spent working, looking for work or not in the labour force, and information about the characteristics (such as age, sex, and qualifications) of people involved in these activities. The information can be used to construct profiles of various groups within the labour force. The latest survey relates to the year ending February 2003.

This article looks at selected aspects of the experience of people inside and outside the labour force, including changes in labour force status during the 12 months ended February 2003 and differences in labour force participation between men and women.

People who did not change their labour force status during the year

Table 6.21 shows 72% of people aged 15-69 years did not change their labour force status during the 12 months ended February 2003. Most (68%) of the 9.9 million people whose labour force status did not change spent the entire year working.

About 3.0 million people aged 15-69 years remained outside the labour force for the entire year ended February 2003. There were almost twice as many women as men who were not active in the labour force at any time during the year.

As well as those who worked for the whole year and those who were outside the labour force for the whole year, there was a relatively small group of people who looked for work for the entire year ended February 2003 (1.3% of civilian people aged 15-69 years, or 182,600 people).

People who changed their labour force status during the year

Of those people aged 15-69 years who changed their labour force status during the 12 months ended February 2003, 88% worked for part of the year. More than half of the people in this group worked between 39 and 52 weeks.


6.21 LABOUR FORCE EXPERIENCE(a) - Year ended February 2003

Units
Males
Females
Persons

No change in labour force status during the year
%
73.5
71.1
72.3
Not in the labour force at any time during the year
%
15.4
28.2
21.8
In the labour force for the whole year
Worked whole year
%
56.5
41.9
49.2
Looked for work all year
%
1.6
1.0
1.3
Change in labour force status during the year
%
26.4
28.8
27.7
Worked part of the year(b)
%
24.1
25.7
25.0
Worked 1 to under 4 weeks
%
1.0
0.9
0.9
Worked 4 to under 13 weeks
%
2.5
3.0
2.8
Worked 13 to under 26 weeks
%
2.6
3.5
3.1
Worked 26 to under 39 weeks
%
4.1
4.6
4.4
Worked 39 to under 52 weeks
%
13.9
13.7
13.8
Other(c)
%
2.3
3.1
2.7
Total
%
100.0
100.0
100.0
Population
'000
6,893.0
6,856.3
13,749.3

(a) Civilian population aged 15-69 years.
(b) Labour force status during the rest of the year not specified.
(c) Looked for work for part of the year, not in the labour force the rest of the year.

Source: Labour Force Experience, Australia, February 2003 (6206.0).


Participation in the labour force

There were 10.8 million people aged 15-69 years in the labour force at some time during the year ended February 2003. That is, 78% of Australians aged 15-69 years either worked or looked for work at some time during the year. As some people will move in to or out of the labour force during the year, the proportion of Australians aged 15-69 years who were in the labour force at some time during the year (78%) is higher than the proportion who were in the labour force at any point in time (71% on average, during the year ended February 2003).

Most people participating in the labour force spent all or most of the year in the labour force. Almost three-quarters (71%) of people who were in the labour force at some time during the year ended February 2003 spent the whole year in the labour force.

About 85% of men aged 15-69 years participated in the labour force at some time in the 12 months to February 2003, while 72% of women participated in the labour force at some point during the same period.

Table 6.22 shows time spent working and time spent looking for work, for those people who were in the labour force at some time during the year ended February 2003. Most (63%) of the people who were in the labour force at some point during the year spent the entire year working.

Of those in the labour force at some time during the year ended February 2003:
  • 21% spent part of the year working and no time looking for work
  • 11% spent part of the year working and part of the year looking for work
  • 5% did not work during the year and spent at least part of the year looking for work
  • 2% looked for work for the whole year without working.

6.22 PERSONS IN THE LABOUR FORCE(a), Time spent looking for work - Year ended February 2003

Time worked

Worked
0 weeks
Worked for 1 to
under 26 weeks
Worked for 26 to
under 52 weeks
Worked for
52 weeks
Total
Time spent looking for work
%
%
%
%
%

Looked for 0 weeks
. .
5.3
15.9
62.9
84.1
Looked for 1 to under 26 weeks
2.7
1.5
6.8
. .
11.0
Looked for 26 to under 52 weeks
0.8
1.9
0.5
. .
3.2
Looked for 52 weeks
1.7
. .
. .
. .
1.7
Total
5.2
8.7
23.2
62.9
100.0

(a) Civilian population aged 15-69 years who were in the labour force at some time during the year.

Source: ABS data available on request, Labour Force Experience Survey, February 2003.


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