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6260.0 - Labour Force Projections, Australia, 1999 - 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/09/1999   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

WHAT ARE THESE PROJECTIONS?

The projections presented in this publication show the outcome for the labour force of extrapolating historic trends in labour force participation rates into the future, and applying them to projections of the population (which have their own assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration). These projections are not forecasts.


WHAT IS PROJECTED TO HAPPEN TO THE LABOUR FORCE?

Australia’s civilian labour force aged 15 and over is projected to grow to 10.8 million in 2016, an increase of 1.5 million or 16% from the 1998 labour force of 9.3 million.


This represents an average annual growth rate of 0.8% between 1998 and 2016 compared with an average annual growth of 1.9% between 1979 and 1998. The annual growth rate is projected to decline from 1.6% in 1998–99 to 0.4% in 2015–16.


The overall labour force participation rate is projected to decline slightly, to 60.6%. This rate was last experienced in 1984. In 1990, the labour force participation rate peaked at 63.7%—the highest level since it has been measured. It will not reach this level again during the projection period.






The labour force is projected to age quite dramatically, with over 80% of the projected labour force growth occurring in the 45 years and over age group.




Females are projected to increase from 43% to 45% of the labour force.

HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT THESE PROJECTIONS WILL EVENTUATE?

The bulk of the labour force in 2016 will be made up of people who are currently alive and in Australia. The size and age distribution of the current Australian population is the most important factor in determining the size and age distribution of the labour force in 2016. Changes in participation rates, and the components of population growth (birth and death rate and overseas migration levels) will have a relatively small impact on the future labour force.

THE FUTURE WON’T BE LIKE THE PAST

Because of the ageing of the population, population growth will slow. Therefore, it will not be possible for labour force growth to continue at historic rates.

Immigration and labour force participation rates may rise, which would moderate the fall in employment growth. However, any increase in these components is unlikely to be large enough to prevent a significant fall in employment growth from historical levels.



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