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1338.1 - New South Wales in Focus, 2008 (Reissue)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/06/2008  Reissue
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Image: Work

Work – Summary Table
Data cubes with detailed statistics available on the Details Page


Paid work is the way most people obtain the economic resources needed for day to day living, for themselves and their dependents, and to meet their longer term financial needs. Work allows individuals to build their skills, social networks and enhance their own identity, and contributes to economic growth and development. People without paid work may be at risk of poverty and isolation.

Employment and unemployment

The number of people in paid employment in NSW has grown steadily over the last 10 years. In February 2008, the number of employed people in NSW was 3.4 million, up from 2.8 million in February 1998, including an increase of 68,000 from 2007 to 2008. Much of this increase can be attributed to population growth, however the participation rate has also increased from 62% in 1998 to 63% in 2008. The proportion of people employed full-time has decreased from 71% in February 1998 to 69% in February 2008, while the proportion of people employed part-time has increased from 22% to 27% over the same period.

The unemployment rate has fallen from 7.5% in February 1998 to 4.7% in February 2008, reflecting the economic growth which has occurred over the last decade. The labour force underutilisation rate has fallen from 13% in September 1997 to 10% in September 2007 (the comparable unemployment rate was 7.5% in September 1997 and 4.7% in September 2007). The labour force underutilisation rate is the unemployed plus the underemployed, as a percentage of the labour force.

Full-time and total employment, Trend, NSW

Graph: Full-time and Total employment, Trend, NSW

Unemployment rate, Trend, NSW
Graph: Unemployment rate, Trend, NSW

Unemployment and labour force underutilisation rates, NSW

Graph: Unemployment and Labour force underutilisation rates, NSW

Skilled employment

Between May 2000 and May 2007, nearly 89% of the increase in employed people was for the highest skilled occupations (skill levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO)). The skill levels of occupations relate to the requirement of the position rather than the actual qualifications of the person employed. Over this period, occupations requiring an ASCO skill level 1 (graduate degree or equivalent experience) showed the largest increase in employed persons (159,000 persons, or 49% of total employment growth). Jobs requiring an ASCO skill level 2 (diploma or equivalent experience) also grew strongly (116,000 persons or 36% of total employment growth). The number of employed persons in occupations with ASCO skill levels 3, 4 or 5 (trades qualification equivalent or Certificate III or IV and below) remained relatively steady, resulting in a decline in their relative proportion of the increasing labour supply.

Employed persons, By occupational skill level, NSW

Graph: Employed Persons, By occupational skill level, NSW

Hours worked

In recent years there has been a trend away from the traditional '9-to-5' job towards more diverse arrangements. In February 2008 the average hours worked per week by full-time employees was 39.5 hours. The average hours worked by part-time employees was 16.4 hours.

The proportion of people who worked 50 hours or more per week has remained relatively steady, with 24% of full-time employees working more than 50 hours per week in 1998, compared with 21% in 2008.

Persons who worked 50 hours or more per week, Proportion of full-time employees, NSW

Graph: Persons who worked 50 hours or more per week, Proportion of full-time employees, NSW

Transition to retirement

A significant challenge facing many developed countries is an ageing population. The increase in the proportion of employed persons working part-time is one measure which has widened opportunities for people to make the transition to retirement. The proportion of employed persons aged 55–64 years working part-time has increased from 14% in February 1998 to 17% in February 2008. This flexibility is reflected by the increase in the female participation rate in the years before retirement (aged 55–64 years) from 31% in 1998 to 47% in 2008. There has been a more moderate increase in the equivalent male participation rate from 57% to 64%.

Transition to retirement, Labour force participation rate of persons aged 55–64 years, NSW

Graph: Transition to retirement, Labour force particpation rate of persons aged 55–64 years, NSW

Work – Summary Table
Data cubes with detailed statistics available on the Details Page

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