ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents information about the labour force characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Information on labour force characteristics is presented by sex, age, state or territory, and remoteness.
The statistics in this publication were compiled from the monthly Labour Force Survey, conducted throughout Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Monthly data have been pooled to produce annual estimates.
Due to a change in methodology, estimates from the previous release under this catalogue number - Occasional Paper: Labour Force Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Experimental Estimates from the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6287.0), are not strictly comparable. It is recommended that the estimates from this publication and the previous release not be treated as a single time series.
As estimates have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Craig Blair on Canberra (02) 6252 5967.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
In 2004, an estimated 164,100 Indigenous people were in the labour force (i.e. either employed or unemployed). This represents a labour force participation rate for all Indigenous people aged 15 years and over of 54.4%. Of the Indigenous people in the labour force, more lived in Regional areas (69,800 people) than in Major Cities (53,700) or Remote areas (40,700). The labour force participation rate for Indigenous people in Major Cities was 58.3%, which was higher than the rate for both Regional areas (53.9%) and Remote areas (50.6%).
The participation rate for the working age population (15 to 64 years) was only slightly higher than the rate for all Indigenous people aged 15 years and over, at 56.6%. Indigenous people aged 65 years and over accounted for 4.7% of the total Indigenous population aged 15 years and over in 2004. In comparison, the non-Indigenous population aged 65 years and over accounted for 16.1% of the total non-Indigenous population aged 15 years and over in 2004.
Males accounted for 56.2% of the Indigenous labour force in 2004. The labour force participation rate for Indigenous males (62.9%) was considerably higher than for Indigenous females (46.3%).
The size of the Indigenous labour force declined from 169,200 people in 2002 to 164,100 in 2004. The labour force participation rate decreased over this period (from 59.0% to 54.4%), despite an increase in the Indigenous population. Indigenous females in Remote areas experienced the greatest decline in participation rate, falling from 56.4% to 40.3% over the period.
Between 2002 and 2004, the Indigenous population not in the labour force increased from 117,600 to 137,700. More Indigenous people not in the labour force lived in Regional areas (59,700) than in Remote areas (39,700) and Major Cities (38,300). Females accounted for 60.5% of the total Indigenous population not in the labour force.
In 2004, there were an estimated 136,500 Indigenous people aged 15 years and over in employment. This represented 45.2% of the Indigenous population aged 15 years and over. The employment to population ratio for Indigenous males was 51.8%, compared with 39.0% for Indigenous females.
In the same year, there were 44,600 Indigenous people employed in Major Cities, 55,100 employed in Regional areas and 36,800 employed in Remote areas. The employment to population ratio was 48.5% in Major Cities, 42.6% in Regional areas and 45.8% in Remote areas. Indigenous people participating in the CDEP scheme, who are classified by the ABS as employed, are likely to form a significant proportion of Indigenous employment in remote areas (see National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (cat. no. 4714.0)).
Between 2002 and 2004, the employment to population ratio for Indigenous Australians declined slightly from 48.2% to 45.2%. The decrease was most marked for Indigenous females in Remote areas, where the employment to population ratio fell from 52.3% in 2002 to 36.7% in 2004. Indigenous males in Remote areas experienced a lesser decline, from 63.0% in 2002 to 55.6% in 2004.
Employment to population ratio of Indigenous people (a)
In 2004, the unemployment rate for the Indigenous population was 16.8%. The unemployment rate for Indigenous people was 16.9% in Major Cities, 21.0% in Regional areas, and 9.5% in Remote areas. However, estimates of unemployment for Remote areas should be used with great care because they are subject to high sampling errors. In addition, Remote areas are regions which generally have limited employment opportunities and this is reflected in the low number of Indigenous people actively looking for work in these areas.
The number of Indigenous people unemployed decreased from 31,000 in 2002 to 27,600 in 2004. Over this period the unemployment rate remained relatively stable at 18.3% in 2002 and 16.8% in 2004.