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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2009   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In September 2008, there were just over 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. Since September 2005, people aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force comprise approximately one-third of the civilian population.

Of those people not in the labour force:

  • 21% wanted to work (23% of women not in the labour force and 20% of men not in the labour force)
  • 61% were women
  • 30% were aged 70 years and over and a further 15% were aged 15–24 years.

PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE, Proportion of the civilian population Age group (years) – By sex
Graph: PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE, Proportion of the civilian population—Age group (years)—By sex


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, approximately 41% of both men and 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 (7%) and 35–44 years (8%), and highest for those aged 70 years and over (92%). By comparison, 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%).


WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

There were 820,300 people with marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2008, representing 15% of people not in the labour force.

Of the 820,300 people with marginal attachment to the labour force:
  • 516,100 (63%) were women
  • 91% (750,000) were not actively looking for work
  • 58% 'Intended to enter' the labour force within 12 months, and 22% 'Did not intend to enter' the labour force within 12 months. The remainder (20%) were undecided if they would enter the labour force in the next 12 months.

People with marginal attachment to the labour force tended to be younger. For example, more than one-quarter (29%) of those with marginal attachment to the labour force were aged 15–24 years. A further 19% were aged 25–34 years, and a futher 19% were aged 35–44 years.

The largest group of men with marginal attachment to the labour force was those aged 15–24 years (39%). This was followed by men aged 25–44 years (22%). By comparison, the largest group of women with marginal attachment to the labour force was those aged 25–44 years (47%). This was followed by women aged 15–24 years (24%).

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


Of women with marginal attachment to the labour force, 66% preferred part-time work, while 17% preferred full-time work. For men, 46% preferred part-time work and 31% preferred full-time work. The remainder had no preference, or were undecided.


Main activity when not in the labour force1

PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Selected main activities when not in the labour force(a) – By sex
Graph: PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT, Selected main activities when not in the labour force(a)—By sex


For people with marginal attachment to the labour force, the most commonly reported main activity when not in the labour force was 'Attending an educational institution', 38% of men and 21% of women, followed by 'Home duties', 36% of women and 11% of men and 'Caring for children', 23% of women and 5% of men.


Time since last job

In September 2008, 663,400 (81%) of those with marginal attachment to the labour force had previously had a job. Of these, 35% reported that their last job was less than 12 months ago, and 22% reported their last job was between one and three years ago.

Almost 12% of people (49,600 women and 26,900 men) with marginal attachment to the labour force last had a job between 10 years and under 20 years ago. There were 33,800 people with marginal attachment to the labour force whose last job was more than 20 years ago.

Approximately 156,800 (19%) of people with marginal attachment to the labour force reported that they had never held a job lasting for 2 weeks or more.


Main reason for not actively looking for work – Other reasons

There were 676,100 (82% of 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, 65% (439,900) were women and 35% (236,300) were men.

PERSONS NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK – OTHER REASONS, Selected main other 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


The most commonly reported main reason for not actively looking for work for such men was 'Attending an educational institution' (35%), followed by 'Own long-term health condition or disability' (19%). By comparison, the most commonly reported main reason for women was 'Caring for children' (31%), followed by 'Attending an educational institution' (18%).


DISCOURAGED JOB SEEKERS

In September 2008 there were 73,900 discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over. This compares with 76,600 discouraged job seekers in September 2007.

Characteristics of discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over in September 2008 include:
  • 48,800 were aged 55 years and over
  • 39,300 were women
  • 65,300 had worked before
  • 11,200 had worked in the previous 12 months (21% of men and 10% of women)
  • 20,700 had looked for work in the previous 12 months (31% of men and 25% of women)
  • 24,800 intended to enter the labour force in the next 12 months (39% of men and 29% of women).

DISCOURAGED JOB SEEKERS, Selected main reasons for not actively looking for work – By sex
Graph: DISCOURAGED JOB SEEKERS Selected main reasons for not actively looking for work—By sex


The main reason most commonly reported by discouraged job seekers for not actively looking for work was 'Considered too old by employers' (49%). This was followed by 'No jobs in locality or line of work' (18%) and 'Lacked necessary training, skills or experience' (17%). 'Considered too old by employers' was most commonly reported as the main reason by 49% of male and 50% of female discouraged job seekers. 'Lacked necessary schooling, training, skills, or experience' showed the greatest contrast between men and women who were discouraged job seekers (9.2% and 24% respectively) as the main reason for not actively looking for work.


WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

In September 2008, there were 4.7 million people (1.9 million men and 2.8 million women) aged 15 years and over without marginal attachment to the labour force, comprising:
  • 86% who reported that they 'Did not want to work', or 'Did not know' if they wanted to work
  • 7.7% who 'Wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start work within four weeks'
  • 6.4% who were 'Permanently unable to work'.

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 44% of women), and a further 18% were aged 55–64 years old.


Main activity when not in the labour force1

Almost one-third (32%) of people without marginal attachment reported their main activity when not in the labour force as 'Retired or voluntarily inactive'. The next most common response was 'Home duties' (26%).

The most common response reported by men without marginal attachment was 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (43%) followed by 'Own long-term health condition or disability' and 'Attending an educational institution' (both 17%). Women without marginal attachment most commonly reported 'Home duties' (38%) followed by 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (24%) as their main activity when not in the labour force.


Time since last job

In September 2008, of those without marginal attachment to the labour force:
  • 84% (3.9 million) reported they had previously had a job. Of these:
      • 56% reported that their last job was 10 years ago or more
      • 23% reported that their last job was 3 to under 10 years ago
  • 16% (759,600) reported they had never had a job, of whom 62% were women.


END NOTE

1. See paragraphs 25–26 of the Explanatory Notes for more information.


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