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6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, February 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/08/2009   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


ALL PEOPLE

In February 2009, there were 16.9 million people aged 15 years and over. During the 12 months to February 2009, 74% of these people did not change their labour force status. Other characteristics of people aged 15 years and over at February 2009 included:

  • 11.7 million people worked at some time during the year, of whom 7.8 million (66%) spent the whole year working
  • 1.7 million people looked for work at some time during the year, of whom 117,700 (7%) spent the whole year looking for work
  • 8.4 million people were classified as 'Not in the labour force' at some time during the year, of whom 4.7 million (56%) remained 'Not in the labour force' for the whole of this 12 month period.


Participation in the labour force

There were just over 12.2 million people aged 15 years and over who participated in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2009 (78% of men and 67% of women). That is, 72% of Australians aged 15 years and over either worked or looked for work at some time during this period, which was similar to the 12 months ending February 2007 (71%).

Of the people who were in the labour force at some time during the 12 month ending February 2009, 70% spent the whole year in the labour force and 17% spent from 39 to under 52 weeks in the labour force.

The age groups with the highest proportion of participation in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2009 were those aged 20-24 years, 25-34 years and 35-44 years (each 89%). They were followed by those aged 45-54 years (88%).

LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Proportion of the civilian population-Age group (years)-By sex
Graph: LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Proportion of the civilian population–Age group (years)–By sex


Men participated at a higher rate than women in all age groups except for those aged 15-19 years in which women participated at a slightly higher rate (71%) than men (70%). The age group with the highest rate of participation in the labour force for men were those in the 25-34 year age group (96%), whilst for women it was those in the 20-24 year age group (86%).


PEOPLE WHO WORKED AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 11.7 million people aged 15 years and over who worked at some time during the year ending February 2009. Of these, 6.3 million (54%) were men and 5.4 million (46%) were women. Over two thirds of these men (70%) worked for the entire 52 weeks, compared to 62% of women.

Of those people who worked at some time during the year ending February 2009:
  • 66% only worked full-time hours (78% of men and 51% of women)
  • 25% only worked part-time hours (14% of men and 38% of women)
  • 9% worked a combination of full-time and part-time hours (8% of men and 11% of women).

Over three-quarters (79%) of people who only worked full-time hours worked for the whole year, compared to 40% of people who only worked part-time hours.

Over three quarters of people (79%) who worked at some time during the year ending February 2009 had only one employer or business during these 12 months. Just over one fifth (21%) of people who only worked part-time hours had two or more employers or businesses during the year, compared to 18% of people who only worked full-time.


PEOPLE WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 1.7 million people aged 15 years and over who looked for work at some time during the year ending February 2009 (856,400 men and 794,000 women). Almost three-quarters of these people (71%) had also worked during the year.

Of those people who looked for work at some time during this 12 month period:
  • 20% looked for work for 1 and under 4 weeks
  • 39% looked for work for 4 and under 13 weeks
  • 15% looked for work for 13 and under 26 weeks
  • 18% looked for work for 26 and under 52 weeks and 7% looked for the whole year
  • 75% had 1 spell looking for work
  • 12% had 2 spells looking for work
  • 13% had 3 or more spells looking for work.
PERSONS WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Mean time spent looking for work-By age group (years)-By sex
Graph: PERSONS WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Mean time spent looking for work—By age group (years)—By sex


The mean (average) duration of time spent looking for work was 15.9 weeks up from 15.7 weeks in 2007. On average, women who looked for work spent less time doing so (15.6 weeks) than men (16.2 weeks). On average, people aged 55 years and over spent the most time looking for work (20.8 weeks), while people aged 15-19 years spent, on average, the least time (13.3 weeks).


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

There were 8.4 million people aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2009 (42% were men and 58% were women). Of these, over half (56%) remained not in the labour force for the whole of this 12 month period, and 25% were not in the labour force for between 1 and under 13 weeks.

PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Main activity while not in the labour force-By sex
Graph: PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR ENDING FEBRUARY 2009, Main activity while not in the labour force—By sex


The main activities most commonly reported by people while not in the labour force were:
  • 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (29% of men and 20% women)
  • 'Home duties' (6% of men and 29% of women)
  • 'Holiday, travel or leisure activities' (23% of men and 14% of women)
  • 'Attended an educational institution' (19% of men and 14% of women).


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