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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2008   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In September 2007, there were just under 5.5 million 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.


Of people not in the labour force:

  • 22% wanted to work (23% of women and 19% of men)
  • 61% were women
  • 31% were aged 70 years and over.

The proportion of men and women who were not in the labour force varied according to age. In the 15-19 year age group, where there are high levels of participation in education, 43% of men and 40% of women were not in the labour force. In each of the remaining 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 lowest for those aged 25-34 years and 35-44 years (each 7%), and highest for those aged 70 years and over (93%). The proportion of women not in the labour force was lowest for those aged 20-24 years (21%) and 45-54 years (22%) and highest for those aged 70 years and over (98%).

PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE, Proportion of the civilian population - By sex and age group
Graph: PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE - Proportion of civilian population



There were 845,400 people with marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2007, representing 15% of people not in the labour force. People without marginal attachment to the labour force numbered 4.6 million in September 2007, representing 85% of people not in the labour force.



WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

The age structure of those with marginal attachment was quite different to those without marginal attachment to the labour force. People with marginal attachment to the labour force were younger than those without marginal attachment. More than one-quarter (29%) of those with marginal attachment to the labour force were aged 15-24 years and a further 18% were aged 25-34 years. Three-quarters (75%) of 15-24 year olds reported their main activity when not in the labour force was 'attending an educational institution'.


Men aged 15-24 years represented the largest single group of men with marginal attachment (42% of all marginally attached males). In contrast, the proportion of women with marginal attachment was similar for age groups 15-24 years (23% of all marginally attached females), 25-34 years (22%) and 35-44 years (24%).

PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Age and sex distribution
Graph: PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT - Age and sex distribution




Characteristics

Of the 845,400 people with marginal attachment to the labour force:
  • 554,800 (66%) were women
  • 92% (778,400) were not actively looking for work
  • 56% 'intended to enter' the labour force within 12 months
  • 25% 'did not intend to enter' the labour force within 12 months (27% of these intended to enter at some time in the future)
  • 15% 'might enter' the labour force within 12 months.

Of women with marginal attachment to the labour force, 65% preferred part-time work, while 16% preferred full-time work. For men, 46% preferred part-time work and 30% preferred full-time work. The remainder had no preference, or were undecided.

PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Full-time or part-time preference - By sex
Graph: PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT - Full-time or part-time preference - By sex




Main activity when not in the labour force

For people with marginal attachment to the labour force, the most commonly reported main activity when not in the labour force was 'home duties or caring for children' (61% of women and 11% of men), followed by 'attending an educational institution' (39% of men and 19% of women).

PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Selected main activities when not in the labour force - By sex
Graph: PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT - Selected main activities when not in the labour force - By sex




Last job

In September 2007, 679,300 of those with marginal attachment to the labour force had previously had a job. Of these, 33% reported that their last job was less than 12 months ago, and 22% reported their last job was between one and three years ago.


There were 639,000 people (428,600 women and 210,400 men) with marginal attachment to the labour force who had a job less than 20 years ago. The most commonly reported occupation in their last job for these people was Labourers (21%), followed by Clerical and administrative workers (17%) and Sales workers (14%). The most common occupation in last job for those aged:

  • 15-24 years was Labourers (30%)
  • 45-54 years was Clerical and administrative workers (24%)
  • 65 years and over was Clerical and administrative workers (18%).

Of those people with marginal attachment to the labour force who had a job less than 20 years ago, 52% reported that their last job was full-time. Some 84% of the 41,900 who reported their occupation in last job was 'Manager' reported they worked full-time in that job, compared to 32% of the 90,000 people who reported 'Sales workers'.

PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, LAST JOB LESS THAN 20 YEARS AGO, Selected main reasons for ceasing last job - By sex
Graph: PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT - LAST JOB LESS THAN 20 YEARS AGO - Selected main reasons for ceasing last job - By sex



Men and women reported different reasons for ceasing their last job. The most commonly reported main reason for men whose last job was less than 20 years ago was 'retrenched, made redundant, employer went out of business, dismissed, no work was available' (22%), followed by 'own long-term health condition or disability' (13%) and 'job was temporary or seasonal' (11%). While for women, the most commonly reported main reason was 'pregnancy or to have children' (31%), followed by 'retrenched, made redundant, employer went out of business, dismissed, no work was available' (11%) and 'to have holidays, moved house or spouse transferred' (9%). Of women reporting 'pregnancy or to have children', 82% were aged 25-44 years.



Not actively looking for work - Discouraged job seekers

In September 2007 there were 76,600 discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over.


Characteristics of discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over in September 2007 include:

  • 37% were aged 65 years and over
  • 48,600 (63%) were women
  • 69,800 (91%) had worked before
  • 10,500 had worked in the previous 12 months (15% of men and 13% of women)
  • 22,800 had looked for work in the previous 12 months (29% of men and 30% of women)
  • 24,500 intended to enter the labour force in the next 12 months (32% of men and 32% of women).

The main reason most commonly reported by discouraged job seekers for not actively looking for work was 'considered too old by employers' (47%). This was followed by 'no jobs in locality or line of work' and 'lacked necessary training, skills or experience' (each 20%). 'Considered too old by employers' was reported as the main reason by 51% of male discouraged job seekers, compared with 44% of female discouraged job seekers.

PERSONS NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK, DISCOURAGED JOB SEEKERS, Main reason for not actively looking for work - By sex
Graph: PERSONS NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK - DISCOURAGED JOB SEEKERS - Main reason for not actively looking for work - By sex




Not actively looking for work - Other reasons

There were 701,700 people (83% of all people with marginal attachment to the labour force) other than discouraged job seekers, who wanted to work and were available to start work within four weeks but were not actively looking for work. Of these, 66% (465,800) were women and 34% (235,900) were men.


The most commonly reported main reason for not actively looking for work for such men was 'attending an educational institution' (32%), followed by 'own long-term health condition or disability' (17%). The most commonly reported main reason for women was 'caring for children' (28%), followed by 'attending an educational institution' (18%).

PERSONS NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK, OTHER REASONS, Selected main reasons for not actively looking for work - By sex
Graph: PERSONS NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK - OTHER REASONS - Selected main reasons for not actively looking for work - By sex




WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

The majority of people not in the labour force are without marginal attachment. In September 2007, there were 4.6 million people (1.9 million men and 2.8 million women) aged 15 years and over without marginal attachment to the labour force.


Unlike the age distribution of those with marginal attachment, those without marginal attachment tended to be older. Almost half (48%) were aged 65 years and over (53% of men and 45% of women), followed by 18% who were aged 55-64 years old (17% of men and 19% of women).

PERSONS WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Age and sex distribution
Graph: PERSONS WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT - Age and sex distribution




Characteristics

Of those without marginal attachment to the labour force:
  • 86% reported that they 'did not want to work', or 'did not know' if they wanted to work
  • 7% 'wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start work within four weeks,'
  • 6% were 'permanently unable to work'.


Main activity when not in the labour force

Over one-third (36%) of people without marginal attachment reported their main activity when not in the labour force as 'retired or voluntarily inactive'. The second most common response was 'home duties or caring for children' (26%). The most common response reported by men without marginal attachment was 'retired or voluntarily inactive' (45%) followed by 'own long-term health condition or disability' (18%) and 'attending an educational institution' (17%). Women without marginal attachment most commonly reported 'home duties and caring for children' (39%) and 'retired or voluntarily inactive' (30%) as their main activity when not in the labour force.

PERSONS WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Selected main activities when not in the labour force - By sex
Graph: PERSONS WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT - Selected main activities when not in the labour force - By sex



Of the 1.7 million people without marginal attachment to the labour force who reported 'retired or voluntarily inactive' as their main activity when not in the labour force, 81% (82% of men and 80% of women) were aged 65 years and over.



Main reason not available to start work within four weeks

There were 343,300 people (118,700 men and 224,500 women) without marginal attachment because they wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start work within four weeks. The most commonly reported main reason for not being available for work by these people were:

  • Studying or returning to studies (43% of men and 19% of women)
  • Own long-term health condition or disability (30% of men and 14% of women).
Time since last job

In September 2007, of those without marginal attachment to the labour force:
  • 84% (3.9 million) reported they had previously had a job
      • 57% of these reported that their last job was 10 years ago or more
      • 24% of these reported that their last job was three to nine years ago
  • 16% (721,500) reported they had never had a job
      • 61% of these were women.

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