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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/2010   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In September 2009, there were almost 5.7 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 comprised approximately one-third of the civilian population.

Of those people not in the labour force:

  • 60% were women;
  • 22% wanted to work (24% of women not in the labour force and 19% of men not in the labour force); and
  • 30% were aged 70 years and over and a further 16% 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, 45% of men and 42% 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 35-44 years (7%) and 25-34 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 45-54 years (21%) and 20-24 years (23%) and highest for those aged 70 years and over (97%).


WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

In September 2009, there were 893,100 people with marginal attachment to the labour force, representing approximately 16% of people not in the labour force. This is an increase from September 2008 where 820,300 people were marginally attached to the labour force, which then represented 15% of people not in the labour force.

Of those with marginal attachment to the labour force in September 2009:
  • 565,500 (63%) were women;
  • 92% (823,400) were not actively looking for work; and
  • 31% (279,000) were aged 15-24 years.

The largest group of men with marginal attachment to the labour force were aged 15-19 years (28%), followed by men aged 20-24 years (14%) and 25-34 years (12%). By comparison, the largest group of women with marginal attachment to the labour force were aged 35-44 years (23%), followed by women aged 25-34 (22%) and 15-19 years (15%).


Main activity when not in the labour force
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


For people with marginal attachment to the labour force, reports of main activity when not in the labour force differed between men and women. The most commonly reported main activity for men was 'Attending an educational institution' (39% of men compared to 20% of women), whereas for women it was 'Home duties' (38% of women compared to 11% of men) and 'Caring for children' (23% of women compared to 3% of men). 


Time since last job

In September 2009, 79% (708,500) of people with marginal attachment to the labour force had worked before. Of these, one-third (234,300) worked less than 12 months ago and a further 24% reported that their last job was between one and three years ago. Approximately 9% of people (59,900 women and 23,000 men) with marginal attachment to the labour force last worked between 10 years and under 20 years ago and a further 4% (35,800) of people with marginal attachment to the labour force last worked more than 20 years ago. 

Approximately 184,600 (21%) of people with marginal attachment to the labour force reported that they had never held a job lasting for two weeks or more, compared to 19% in 2008.


Not actively looking for work - Intention to enter the labour force in the next 12 months

There were 823,400 people who were marginally attached to the labour force and not actively looking for work in September 2009. Approximately 72% of these people indicated that they intended to or might enter the labour force in the next 12 months. Of those who were marginally attached and intended to or might enter the labour force in the next 12 months:
  • 372,500 (63%) were women, almost three quarters of whom expressed an interest in working part-time;
  • 64,000 (11%) were discouraged job seekers; and
  • 374,700 (64%) reported that they would prefer to work part-time.
PERSONS NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK, Full-time or part-time preference-By sex
Graph: Persons not actively looking for work, Full-time or part-time preference–By sex


Of women with marginal attachment to the labour force, who were not actively looking for work, 50% (266,800) preferred part-time work while almost 16% (82,600) preferred full-time work. For men, almost 37% (107,800) preferred part-time work and 31% (90,300) preferred full-time work. One quarter (25%) of women and around 21% of men with marginal attachment, not actively looking for work, reported that they were not intending to work.


Main reason for not actively looking for work - Other reasons

There were 711,600 people, other than discouraged job seekers, who wanted to work, but were not actively looking for work and were available to start work within four weeks. These people account for 80% of people with marginal attachment to the labour force, of whom, 66% (471,000) were women and 34% (240,500) 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 other reasons for not actively looking for work–By sex


The most commonly reported main reason for not actively looking for work for these men was 'Attending an educational institution' (38%), followed by 'Own long-term health condition or disability' (16%). By comparison, the most commonly reported main reason for women was 'Caring for children' (30%), followed by 'Attending an educational institution' (19%). 


DISCOURAGED JOB SEEKERS

In September 2009, there were 111,800 discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over. This has increased from 73,900 in 2008.  

Characteristics of discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over in September 2009 include:
  • 58,200 (52%) were aged 55 years and over;
  • 59,500 were women;
  • 95,900 had worked before, of whom 16% had worked less than 12 months ago and 26% who had last worked between one and three years ago;
  • 15,300 had worked in the previous 12 months (19.3% of men and 8.7% of women);
  • 44,400 had looked for work in the previous 12 months (33% of men and 46% of women); and
  • 64,000 intended to or might enter the labour force in the next 12 months, of whom 63% preferred to work part-time. 
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' (36%). This was followed by 'No jobs in locality or line of work' (22%) and 'Lacked necessary training, skills or experience' (11%). The largest percentage point difference between men and women who were discouraged job seekers was for 'No jobs in locality or line of work' (13% and 29% respectively).


WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

In September 2009, there were 4.8 million people (1.9 million men and 2.9 million women) aged 15 years and over without marginal attachment to the labour force, of whom:
  • 84% reported that they 'Did not want to work', or 'Did not know' if they wanted to work;
  • 8% 'Wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start work within four weeks'; and
  • 8% were 'Permanently unable to work'. 

Unlike the age distribution of those with marginal attachment, those without marginal attachment tended to be older. Almost half (47%) were aged 65 years and over (51% of men and 44% of women), and a further 18% were aged 55-64 years old.


Main activity when not in the labour force

Over one-third (35%) 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' (22%). 

The most common response reported by men without marginal attachment was 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (44%) followed by 'Own long-term health condition or disability' and 'Attending an educational institution' (18% and 17% respectively). Women without marginal attachment most commonly reported 'Home duties' (32%) followed by 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (29%) as their main activity when not in the labour force. 


Time since last job

In September 2009, there were 4 million people without marginal attachment to the labour force who had previously had a job. Of these:
  • 57% reported that their last job was '10 or more years ago'; and
  • 22% reported that their last job was '3 to under 10 years ago'.

There were 801,100 people without marginal attachment who reported that they had never had a job, of whom 61% were women. 


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