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6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, Feb 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/07/2005   
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ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents information about the labour force experience of the civilian population aged 15-69 years during the 12 months ending February 2005. It presents information about time spent in labour force activities, including episodes of working or looking for work, and time spent out of the labour force.


For this publication, labour force activity over a 12-month period was determined from a more limited set of questions than is used in the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). For this reason, the terms worked and looked for work are used, rather than the more precisely defined terms employed and unemployed, as used in the LFS.



ABOUT THIS SURVEY

Statistics in this publication were obtained from the Labour Force Experience survey conducted throughout Australia in February 2005 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly LFS.


Labour force experience relates to a person's labour force activities over a 12-month period. Labour force activity consists of either working or looking for work.


This survey measured the number of weeks people were engaged in these labour force activities during the year, the number of spells of looking for work during the year and the main activity of people when not in the labour force.



NOTES ABOUT THE ESTIMATES

The data items 'Level of highest educational attainment', 'Level of highest non-school qualification', 'Highest year of school completed' and 'State or territory of usual residence 12 months ago' included in the 2003 publication have been omitted from this publication as this information was not collected in the 2005 survey. Information on educational qualifications, cross classified by labour force status, can be obtained from the survey of Education and Work, which is conducted in May each year as a supplement to the ABS monthly LFS.



ROUNDING

As estimates have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Labour Market Section on Canberra (02) 6252 7206.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK


CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

The following diagram illustrates the conceptual framework for the Labour Force Experience survey. People aged 15-69 years were classified according to their labour force activity over a 12-month period, that is, whether they were working or looking for work.


The framework firstly differentiates between people who worked the whole year, part of the year or did not work during the year. People who worked part of the year or did not work during the year were asked whether they looked for work during the year. People who looked for work were also asked about the time they spent looking for work.


Note that the terms worked and looked for work are not the same as the more precisely defined terms employed and unemployed, which are used in the monthly Labour Force Survey to describe current labour force status. See the Glossary for the definitions of these terms.

Diagram: Conceptual Framework


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


ALL PEOPLE AGED 15 TO 69 YEARS

In February 2005, the Australian civilian population aged 15-69 years comprised 14,046,600 people (excluding institutionalised people, boarding school pupils and people in very remote parts of Australia). During the 12 months to February 2005, 72% of these people did not change their labour force status. Of those, 69% worked for the whole year, 30% were not in the labour force for the whole year and 1% looked for work for the whole year.


During the year ending February 2005:

  • 10,569,400 people worked at some time during the year, of whom 6,983,100 spent the whole year working
  • 1,512,200 people looked for work at some time during the year, of whom 124,700 spent the whole year looking for work
  • 6,357,100 people were not in the labour force at some time during the year, of whom 3,008,100 spent no time in the labour force.

Participation in the labour force

There were 11,038,400 people aged 15-69 years in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2005. That is, 79% of Australians aged 15-69 years either worked or looked for work at some time during the year. This proportion has risen from 77% in 1995.


Of males aged 15-69 years, 85% participated in the labour force at some time in the 12 months to February 2005. This figure has remained relatively steady since 1995. For females, the proportion participating has steadily increased from 69% in 1999 to 73% in 2005.


By age group, the highest participation in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2005 was for people aged 20-24 years (90%). Labour force participation dropped to 69% for people aged 55-59 years and then to 48% for people aged 60-64 years. Only 20% of people aged 65-69 years participated in the labour force at some time during the year. Males participated at higher rates than females in all age groups except for people aged 15-19 years in which females participated at a slightly higher rate (74%) than males (72%).


Of the people who were in the labour force at some time during the year, 70% spent the whole year in the labour force and 17% spent 39 to 51 weeks in the labour force.



PEOPLE WHO WORKED AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 10,569,400 people aged 15-69 years who worked at some time during the year ending February 2005. Of these, 5,700,700 (54%) were male and 4,868,700 (46%) were female. Some 70% of these males worked for the entire 52 weeks, compared to 61% of females.


The proportion of males who worked at some time during the year (82%) has remained relatively stable since 1995. The proportion of females who worked at some time during the year has steadily risen throughout that period from 63% in 1995 to 69% in 2005.


Of those people who worked at some time during the year ending February 2005:

  • 65% worked full-time only (79% of males and 49% of females)
  • 25% worked part-time only (13% of males and 39% of females)
  • 10% worked a combination of full-time and part-time (9% of males and 12% of females)

Over three-quarters (79%) of people who worked full-time only worked for the whole year, compared to 40% of people who worked part-time only.


The majority of people who worked at some time during the year ending February 2005 had only one employer or business during that time (77%). One quarter (25%) of people who worked part-time only had two or more employers or businesses during the year, compared to 18% of people who worked full-time only.



PEOPLE WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

During the year ending February 2005, 782,000 males and 730,200 females aged 15-69 years spent some time looking for work.


The proportion of males who looked for work at some time during the year has steadily decreased, from 18% in 1995 to 11% in February 2005. Similarly, the proportion of females has decreased from 14% in 1995 to 10% for the 12 months ending February 2005.


Of the 1,512,200 people who looked for work at some time during the year ending February 2005:

  • 20% looked for work for between 1 and 3 weeks
  • 37% looked for work for between 4 and 12 weeks
  • 16% looked for work for between 13 and 25 weeks
  • 27% looked for work for between 26 and 52 weeks, including 8% who looked for the whole year.

The mean (average) duration of time spent looking for work was 16.7 weeks. On average, females who looked for work spent less time (15.4 weeks) than males (18 weeks). By age group, people aged 55-69 years spent the most time on average looking for work (23.4 weeks), while people aged 15-19 years spent the least time on average (14.1 weeks).


Two-thirds (69%) of people looking for work during the year had also worked during the year.



PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR

There were 6,357,100 people aged 15-69 years who were not in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2005. Of these, 2,562,400 (40%) were male and 3,794,800 (60%) were female. Almost half (47%) of the people in this group spent no time in the labour force during the year.


The main activities while not in the labour force most commonly reported by males were 'holiday, travel or leisure activities' (27%), 'attended an educational institution' (24%), and 'retired or voluntarily inactive' (19%). For females, the most commonly reported main activities were 'home duties or child care' (46%), 'attended an educational institution' (16%), and 'holiday, travel or leisure activities' (15%).


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