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6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, Feb 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/08/2007   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


ALL PEOPLE

In February 2007, there were 16.3 million people aged 15 years and over (excluding institutionalised people, boarding school pupils and people in very remote parts of Australia). During the 12 months to February 2007, 75% of these people did not change their labour force status. Of those, 60% worked for the whole year, 39% were not in the labour force for the whole year and 1% looked for work for the whole year.


During the year ending February 2007:

  • 11.1 million people worked at some time during the year, of whom 7.4 million spent the whole year working
  • 1.5 million people looked for work at some time during the year, of whom 105,400 spent the whole year looking for work
  • 8.2 million people were not in the labour force at some time during the year, of whom 4.7 million spent no time in the labour force.

Participation in the labour force

There were just over 11.5 million people aged 15 years and over in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2007. That is, 71% of Australians aged 15 years and over either worked or looked for work at some time during the year.


Of men aged 15 years and over, 77% participated in the labour force at some time in the 12 months to February 2007. For women, the proportion participating in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2007 was 65%.


The age group with the highest rate of participation in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2007 were people aged 20-24 years (91%). For older people, the proportion participation in the labour force at some time during the year was 73% for those aged 55-59 years, 52% for those aged 60-64 years, and 11% for those aged 65 years and over.


LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2007, Age - By sex

Graph: Labour Force Participation During the Year Ending February 2007, Age—By sex

Men participated at higher rates than women in all age groups except for those aged 15-19 years in which women participated at a slightly higher rate (73%) than men (70%).


Of the people who were in the labour force at some time during the year, 70% spent the whole year in the labour force and 17% spent 39 to 51 weeks in the labour force.


PEOPLE WHO WORKED AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 11.1 million people aged 15 years and over who worked at some time during the year ending February 2007. Of these, 6 million (54%) were men and 5.1 million (46%) were women. Some 70% of these men worked for the entire 52 weeks, compared to 62% of women.


Of those people who worked at some time during the year ending February 2007:

  • 65% worked full-time only (78% of men and 49% of women)
  • 25% worked part-time only (14% of men and 39% of women)
  • 10% worked a combination of full-time and part-time (8% of men and 12% of women).

Over three-quarters (79%) of people who worked full-time only worked for the whole year, compared to 41% of people who worked part-time only.


The majority of people who worked at some time during the year ending February 2007 had only one employer or business during that time (77%). Nearly one quarter (24%) of people who worked part-time only had two or more employers or businesses during the year, compared to 18% of people who worked full-time only.


PEOPLE WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 1.5 million people aged 15 years and over who looked for work at some time during the year ending February 2007. These comprised approximately equal numbers of men (774,700) and women (763,200).


Of those people who looked for work at some time during the year ending February 2007:

  • 21% looked for work for between 1 and 3 weeks
  • 39% looked for work for between 4 and 12 weeks
  • 16% looked for work for between 13 and 25 weeks
  • 24% looked for work for between 26 and 52 weeks, including 7% who looked for the whole year.

The mean (average) duration of time spent looking for work was 15.7 weeks. On average, women who looked for work spent less time doing so (14.7 weeks) than men (16.7 weeks). People aged 55 years and over spent, on average, the most time looking for work (20.4 weeks), while people aged 15-19 years spent, on average, the least time (13.4 weeks).


Almost three-quarters (71%) of people who looked for work during the year had also worked during the year.


PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 8.2 million people aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2007. Of these, 41% were men and 59% were women. Over half (57%) of the people aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2007 spent no time in the labour force during the year.


The following were the main activities most commonly reported by men, while not in the labour force:

  • 'retired or voluntarily inactive' (30%)
  • 'holiday, travel or leisure activities' (23%)
  • 'attended an educational institution' (19%).

For women, the most commonly reported main activities were:
  • 'home duties or child care' (39%)
  • 'retired or voluntarily inactive' (21%)
  • 'holiday, travel or leisure activities' (13%)
  • 'attended an educational institution' (13%).

COMPARISONS WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS

Prior to 2007, the scope for the Labour Force Experience Survey was restricted to people aged 15 to 69 years, so direct comparisons between 2007 and previous years can only be made using this common population.


In February 2007, there were 14.5 million people aged 15 to 69 years (excluding institutionalised people, boarding school pupils and people in very remote parts of Australia). There were an estimated 11.4 million people aged 15 to 69 years who participated in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2007. That is, 79% of Australians aged 15 to 69 years either worked or looked for work at some time during the year. This proportion has increased from 77% in 1997.


The proportion of men aged 15 to 69 years participating in the labour force at some time during the 12 months to February 2007 was 85%. This figure has remained relatively steady since 1997. For women, the proportion participating has steadily increased from 69% in 1999 to 73% in 2007.


There were 11 million people aged 15 to 69 years who worked at some time during the year ending February 2007. The proportion of men who worked at some time during the year has risen from 80% in 1997 to 82% in 2007. Similarly, the proportion of women who worked at some time during the year has steadily increased throughout that period from 64% in 1997 to 69% in 2007.


During the year ending February 2007, an estimated 772,700 men and 762,700 women aged 15 to 69 years spent some time looking for work. The proportion of men who looked for work at some time during the year has steadily decreased, from 17% in 1997 to 11% in February 2007. Similarly, the proportion of women who looked for work at some time during the year, has decreased from 13% in 1997 to 11% for the 12 months ending February 2007.


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