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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2007   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In September 2006, there were 5,413,100 people aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force. This represented 33% of the civilian population aged 15 years and over. One-fifth (20%) of persons not in the labour force wanted to work and 61% of persons not in the labour force were women.


The proportion of people who were not in the labour force varied according to age. In the 15-19 years age group, where there are high levels of participation in education, the proportion was 40% for men and 38% for women. In all other age groups, there was a higher proportion of women than men not in the labour force. The proportion of men not in the labour force was lower for those aged 25-34 years (6.5%) than for those aged 45-54 years (10%), 55-59 years (22%), 60-64 years (43%) and 70 years and over (93%). The proportion of women not in the labour force was lower for those aged 45-54 years (22%) than for those aged 25-34 years (26%) and higher for those aged 55-59 years (39%), 60-64 years (64%) and 70 years and over (98%).

Persons not in the labour force, proportion of the civilian population
Graph: Persons not in the labour force, proportion of the civilian population




MARGINAL ATTACHMENT

Of the 751,600 people with marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2006, 691,400 or 92% were not actively looking for work but were available to start work within four weeks. The remainder were actively looking for work but were not available to start work in the reference week.


Some 15% of women and 12% of men not in the labour force were marginally attached to the labour force. Of women with marginal attachment to the labour force, 70% would have preferred part-time work, while 16% preferred full-time work. For men, 51% preferred part-time work and 35% preferred full-time work. The remainder had no preference, or were undecided.


Approximately 59% of people with marginal attachment to the labour force 'intended to enter' the labour force within 12 months, 19% 'might enter' the labour force within 12 months, and 18% 'did not intend to enter' the labour force within 12 months.


Of those with marginal attachment to the labour force, 79% previously had a job. Of those who previously had a job, 33% stated that their last job was less than 12 months ago, and 21% reported their last job was between 1 year and 3 years ago.


For people with marginal attachment to the labour force the most common main activities since last job were 'home duties or caring for children' (16% of men, 62% of women) and 'attending an educational institution' (40% of men, 21% of women).


Main reason for not actively looking for work

The main reasons for not actively looking for work most commonly reported by men were 'attending an educational institution' (33%) and 'own ill health or physical disability' (20%). The most commonly reported main reasons for not actively looking for work for women were 'caring for children' (28%) and 'attending an educational institution' (17%).


Discouraged job seekers

At September 2006 there were 56,100 discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over. This is an 11% decline in the number of discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over from September 2005 (63,100). The number of men who were discouraged job seekers declined by 18% from 2005 to 2006, whereas for women the decline was 6.3%.


Some of the characteristics of discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over in September 2006 included:

  • 64% were women
  • 39% of men and 15% of women had looked for work in the previous 12 weeks
  • 74% of men and 56% of women intended to enter the labour force in the next 12 months
  • 82% had worked before
  • 30% of men and 16% of women had worked in the last 12 months.

The main reasons most commonly reported by discouraged job seekers for not actively looking for work were 'considered too old by employers' (37%), 'no jobs in locality or line of work' (27%) and 'lacked necessary training, skills or experience' (21%). 'Considered too old by employers' was reported as the main reason by 43% of men compared with 33% of women. For women, 28% reported the main reason as 'no jobs in locality or line of work' and 24% as 'lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience'.



PEOPLE WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT

Of the 4,661,500 people aged 15 years and over who were without marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2006, the majority (87%) were people who did not want to work, while a further 5.8% were permanently unable to work. Of those people who did not want to work, 40% (33% of women, 51% of men) reported their main activity as 'retired or voluntarily inactive', 28% (40% of women, 7.5% of men) as 'home duties or caring for children', and 12% (10% of women, 15% of men) as 'attending an educational institution'.


There were 320,200 people who wanted to work but were neither actively looking for work nor available to start work within four weeks. Of these, 67% were women, 29% had a job less than 12 months ago, 45% reported their main activity as 'home duties or caring for children' and 27% as 'attending an educational institution'.


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