Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, May 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/06/2009   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

LABOUR UNDERUTILISATION


INTRODUCTION

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) currently releases detailed measures of labour underutilisation in Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).

The labour force underutilisation rate represents the under use of labour resources within the labour force. Underemployment, like unemployment, reflects labour resources that have been offered, but which are under used, and is an important component of underutilised labour. The unemployment rate together with the labour force underutilisation rate are widely used as indicators of current economic conditions and of future economic performance.

This article introduces the labour force underutilisation rate to Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


LABOUR FORCE UNDERUTILISATION RATE

Labour underutilisation is the extent to which available labour is underutilised - either through unemployment or underemployment. The extent to which available labour is underutilised is of interest from a number of perspectives. From an economic perspective, there is interest in the amount of spare capacity in the labour supply and its potential to contribute to the production of goods and services - there is a strong correlation between movements in unemployment and underemployment over the economic cycle. From a social viewpoint, there is concern that people whose aspirations for work are not being met may suffer financially, personally and/or socially.


Unemployed persons

The number of unemployed persons is defined as the number of persons aged 15 years and over, who were not employed during the reference period, had actively looked for work and were currently available for work. All three of these criteria must be met for a person to be classified as unemployed. Estimates of the number of people unemployed represent a relatively narrow measure of available labour resources which are not being utilised in the Australian economy.


Underemployed persons

The number of underemployed persons refers to employed persons who work fewer hours than they want to, such as persons who work part-time (i.e. less than 35 hours per week) and would prefer to work more hours or persons who work full-time that worked part-time hours in the reference week for economic reasons (such as being stood down or insufficient work being available). Refer to the Glossary for a detailed description.


Labour force underutilisation rate

The labour force underutilisation rate is defined as the number of unemployed persons plus the number of underemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the number of persons in the labour force.


COMPARISON WITH MONTHLY ESTIMATES

Seasonally adjusted and trend unemployment rates derived from these estimates should not be used in place of the official monthly unemployment rate published in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

In order to produce the labour force underutilisation rate, the ABS calculates seasonally adjusted and trend unemployment rates using data from only the quarter months (i.e. February, May, August and November). As a result the estimates may differ slightly from the official monthly seasonally adjusted and trend unemployment rates.


LABOUR FORCE UNDERUTILISATION RATE FOR MAY 2009

In trend terms, the labour force underutilisation rate stands at 13.4% in May 2009, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from February 2009.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the labour force underutilisation rate stands at 13.4% in May 2009, an increase of 0.8 percentage points from February 2009.

Labour force underutilisation rate, Persons: May 2001-May 2009


In trend terms, the number of underemployed persons increased by 54,900 persons to stand at 866,700 persons in May 2009. The number of underemployed persons represents 7.7% of the labour force, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from February 2009.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of underemployed persons increased by 34,600 persons to stand at 870,800 persons in May 2009. The number of underemployed persons represents 7.6% of the labour force, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from February 2009.


Detailed tables

The following tables details labour underutilisation at the Australia and state and territory levels. These tables will be included in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) from August 2009.

Labour Underutilisation (Aged 15 years & over)(a) - May 2009

Trend
Seasonally adjusted
Original
Under- employed workers
Under- employment rate
Labour force under- utilisation rate
Under- employed workers
Under- employment rate
Labour force under- utilisation rate
Under- employed workers
Under- employment rate
Labour force under- utilisation rate
'000
%
%
'000
%
%
'000
%
%

Males

May 2005
290.0
5.0
9.9
293.3
5.1
10.0
287.9
5.0
10.0
May 2006
286.3
4.9
9.6
276.2
4.7
9.4
272.9
4.7
9.4
May 2007
282.3
4.7
8.8
273.3
4.6
8.4
272.3
4.5
8.5
2008
February
267.4
4.4
8.3
269.2
4.4
8.0
283.7
4.6
8.6
May
259.1
4.2
8.0
262.9
4.3
8.2
263.5
4.3
8.4
August
264.1
4.3
8.2
255.0
4.2
8.0
246.0
4.0
7.6
November
294.7
4.8
9.2
291.5
4.7
8.9
284.7
4.6
8.5
2009
February
339.4
5.5
10.6
335.8
5.4
10.7
354.6
5.7
11.5
May
378.8
6.2
12.2
399.2
6.4
12.5
401.9
6.5
12.7

Females

May 2005
424.2
9.0
14.2
424.2
9.0
14.4
428.5
9.1
14.4
May 2006
428.1
8.9
13.8
428.8
8.9
13.8
435.1
8.9
13.8
May 2007
418.6
8.4
13.3
420.7
8.5
13.2
424.8
8.5
13.2
2008
February
399.0
7.9
12.4
391.9
7.7
12.1
406.5
8.0
13.1
May
397.0
7.8
12.3
404.0
8.0
12.5
409.2
8.0
12.6
August
415.6
8.1
12.8
407.1
8.0
12.6
388.9
7.7
11.9
November
445.9
8.7
13.6
436.7
8.5
13.4
434.3
8.5
12.9
2009
February
472.4
9.1
14.3
500.4
9.6
14.9
519.5
9.9
16.1
May
488.0
9.4
14.8
471.6
9.1
14.5
477.7
9.1
14.5

Persons

May 2005
714.2
6.8
11.9
717.5
6.8
12.0
716.4
6.8
12.0
May 2006
714.5
6.7
11.5
705.0
6.6
11.4
708.0
6.6
11.4
May 2007
700.9
6.4
10.8
694.0
6.3
10.6
697.1
6.3
10.6
2008
February
666.4
6.0
10.2
661.1
5.9
9.9
690.2
6.2
10.6
May
656.0
5.9
10.0
667.0
6.0
10.2
672.7
6.0
10.3
August
679.6
6.0
10.3
662.1
5.9
10.1
634.9
5.7
9.6
November
740.6
6.5
11.2
728.2
6.5
11.0
719.0
6.4
10.5
2009
February
811.8
7.1
12.3
836.2
7.4
12.6
874.1
7.6
13.6
May
866.7
7.7
13.4
870.8
7.6
13.4
879.6
7.7
13.5

(a) Seasonally adjusted and trend data are compiled using estimates only from the quarter months (i.e. February, May, August and November), and therefore may differ from the official monthly estimates produced in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

Labour Underutilisation (Aged 15 years & over)(a), States and territories - May 2009

Trend
Seasonally adjusted
Original
Under- employed workers
Under- employment rate
Labour force under- utilisation rate
Under- employed workers
Under- employment rate
Labour force under- utilisation rate
Under- employed workers
Under- employment rate
Labour force under- utilisation rate
'000
%
%
'000
%
%
'000
%
%

Males

New South Wales
127.5
6.5
13.0
127.0
6.5
13.2
127.0
6.4
13.4
Victoria
114.7
7.4
13.5
125.0
8.2
14.3
118.4
7.7
14.1
Queensland
70.7
5.6
11.5
74.4
5.9
11.8
75.1
5.9
11.9
South Australia
29.1
6.4
12.5
28.1
6.2
12.1
28.1
6.3
12.3
Western Australia
33.6
4.9
9.5
39.5
5.7
10.5
40.9
5.9
10.8
Tasmania
7.1
5.3
10.4
6.8
5.1
10.6
7.5
5.7
10.8
Northern Territory
1.3
1.9
5.9
1.3
2.0
6.1
1.6
2.4
6.8
Australian Capital Territory
3.6
3.5
6.8
3.5
3.4
7.5
3.3
3.2
7.9
Australia
378.8
6.2
12.2
399.2
6.4
12.5
401.9
6.5
12.7

Females

New South Wales
156.5
9.5
15.7
152.0
9.2
15.3
153.6
9.3
15.3
Victoria
118.8
9.3
14.9
114.8
9.0
14.5
114.6
8.9
14.5
Queensland
106.7
9.9
14.4
101.7
9.5
14.0
102.3
9.5
14.4
South Australia
42.2
10.8
16.0
41.3
10.5
15.3
41.9
10.7
15.3
Western Australia
45.4
8.4
13.4
46.1
8.5
13.6
46.2
8.5
13.9
Tasmania
11.2
9.7
15.2
10.6
9.3
15.1
10.5
9.1
14.1
Northern Territory
2.7
4.8
8.1
2.5
4.4
7.1
2.9
5.0
7.7
Australian Capital Territory
6.0
6.2
9.0
6.1
6.3
9.7
5.6
5.8
9.1
Australia
488.0
9.4
14.8
471.6
9.1
14.5
477.7
9.1
14.5

Persons

New South Wales
283.9
7.9
14.3
279.0
7.7
14.2
280.6
7.7
14.2
Victoria
233.5
8.3
14.2
239.8
8.5
14.4
233.0
8.3
14.3
Queensland
177.4
7.6
12.8
176.1
7.5
12.8
177.4
7.6
13.0
South Australia
71.3
8.4
14.1
69.4
8.2
13.6
69.9
8.3
13.7
Western Australia
79.0
6.5
11.3
85.5
7.0
11.8
87.1
7.1
12.2
Tasmania
18.3
7.3
12.6
17.4
7.1
12.6
18.0
7.3
12.3
Northern Territory
4.0
3.2
6.9
3.8
3.1
6.6
4.5
3.6
7.2
Australian Capital Territory
9.6
4.8
7.8
9.6
4.8
8.6
8.9
4.4
8.5
Australia
866.7
7.7
13.4
870.8
7.6
13.4
879.6
7.7
13.5

(a) Seasonally adjusted and trend data are compiled using estimates only from the quarter months (i.e. February, May, August and November), and therefore may differ from the official monthly estimates produced in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


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.