Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Labour >> The labour force

Fundamental to the measurement of employment and unemployment is the concept of the labour force, defined as those persons aged 15 and over who, during a particular week, are either employed or unemployed. The labour force represents the key official measure of the total supply of labour available to the labour market during a given week.

This section presents statistics on the civilian labour force drawn from the monthly Labour Force Survey and supplementary surveys. The household surveys contain a series of questions to classify the population according to the framework presented in diagram 6.2. This framework is the basis for determining whether persons are employed, unemployed or not in the labour force. Further details concerning the scope, coverage and survey methods of the labour force and supplementary surveys (as well as more detailed statistics) can be found in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2001 (6102.0), or the other publications listed in the Bibliography.

6.2 THE AUSTRALIAN LABOUR FORCE FRAMEWORK




Characteristics of the labour force

The size and composition of the labour force are not static over time. Changes in the size of the labour force are caused by changes in the rate of labour force participation as well as changes in the population aged 15 and over.

Population increase has made a steady contribution to labour force growth as a result of net migration and natural increase (1.4% in 2000-01). However, from 1997-98 to 2000-01, the contribution due to labour force participation has risen from -0.5% to 0.5%.


6.3 LABOUR FORCE, Components of Change, Annual Average

1995-96

%
1996-97

%
1997-98

%
1998-99

%
1999-00

%
2000-01

%

MALES

Percentage change in labour force
1.5
0.9
0.9
1.3
1.3
1.4
Percentage points change due to -
- Population growth
1.5
1.5
1.5
1.5
1.6
1.5
- Labour force participation
0.1
-0.6
-0.6
-0.3
-0.3
-0.1

FEMALES

Percentage change in labour force
2.7
1.6
1.0
1.8
2.7
2.5
Percentage points change due to -
- Population growth
1.6
1.5
1.4
1.4
1.5
1.3
- Labour force participation
1.1
0.1
-0.4
0.4
1.3
1.2

PERSONS

Percentage change in labour force
2.0
1.2
1.0
1.5
1.9
1.9
Percentage points change due to -
- Population growth
1.5
1.5
1.4
1.5
1.5
1.4
- Labour force participation
0.5
-0.3
-0.5
0.0
0.4
0.5

Source: ABS data available on request, Labour Force Survey.


The participation rate is one of the most important indicators relating to the labour force. It represents the proportion of the population aged 15 and over who are in the labour force. Analysis of participation rates, particularly in terms of age, sex and marital status, provides the basis for monitoring changes in the size and composition of labour supply. The annual average participation rate for males has been declining for some time, and in 2000-01 it was 73%. In contrast, the female participation rate has increased to 55% in 2000-01 (graph 6.4).




Table 6.5 shows changes in labour force status between 1995-96 and 2000-01. Notable features include a steady increase in employment for both males and females. Over this period, the male unemployment rate decreased from 8.5% in 1995-96 to 6.7% in 2000-01. The female unemployment rate decreased from 7.6% in 1995-96 to 6.0% in 2000-01.


6.5 CIVILIAN POPULATION AGED 15 AND OVER, Labour Force Status, Annual Average

Units
1995-96
1996-97
1997-98
1998-99
1999-00
2000-01

MALES

Employed
’000
4,278.8
4,766.3
4,828.3
4,923.7
5,033.2
5,106.0
Unemployed -
- Looking for full-time work
’000
392.7
395.4
380.7
352.3
307.7
308.8
- Looking for part-time work
’000
47.1
52.3
52.9
52.1
56.1
57.0
- Total unemployed
’000
439.8
447.7
433.7
404.4
363.8
365.8
Labour force
’000
5,168.6
5,214.0
5,262.0
5,328.0
5,397.0
5,471.8
Not in the labour force
’000
1,836.4
1,894.4
1,952.3
1,995.7
2,044.2
2,078.4
Civilian population
’000
7,004.9
7,108.4
7,214.3
7,323.7
7,441.1
7,550.2
Unemployment rate
%
8.5
8.6
8.3
7.6
6.7
6.7
Participation rate
%
73.8
73.4
72.9
72.8
72.5
72.5

FEMALES

Employed
’000
3,595.4
3,637.7
3,690.3
3,779.7
3,906.7
4,023.9
Unemployed -
- Looking for full-time work
’000
208.4
221.2
212.8
192.5
177.0
163.7
- Looking for part-time work
’000
88.4
96.1
91.4
94.8
93.7
95.9
- Total unemployed
’000
296.7
317.2
304.2
287.3
270.7
259.7
Labour force
’000
3,892.1
3,954.9
3,994.4
4,067.0
4,177.4
4,283.6
Not in the labour force
’000
3,345.6
3,392.0
3,456.1
3,488.3
3,488.4
3,483.6
Civilian population
’000
7,237.7
7,347.0
7,450.5
7,555.3
7,665.8
7,767.2
Unemployment rate
%
7.6
8.0
7.6
7.1
6.5
6.0
Participation rate
%
53.8
53.8
53.6
53.8
54.5
55.2

PERSONS

Employed
’000
8,324.2
8,404.0
8,518.6
8,703.4
8,939.9
9,129.9
Unemployed -
- Looking for full-time work
’000
601.1
616.5
593.5
544.7
484.6
472.5
- Looking for part-time work
’000
135.4
148.4
144.3
146.9
149.8
153.0
- Total unemployed
’000
736.5
764.9
737.8
691.7
634.5
625.5
Labour force
’000
9,060.7
9,168.9
9,256.4
9,395.0
9,574.3
9,755.4
Not in the labour force
’000
5,181.9
5,286.4
5,408.4
5,484.0
5,532.6
5,562.0
Civilian population
’000
14,242.6
14,455.3
14,664.8
14,879.0
15,106.9
15,317.4
Unemployment rate
%
8.1
8.3
8.0
7.4
6.6
6.4
Participation rate
%
63.6
63.4
63.1
63.1
63.4
63.7

Source: Labour Force Australia (6203.0).


In 2000-01 the labour force participation rate for persons born overseas was 58%, compared with a participation rate of 67% for persons born in Australia. For persons born in other than main English-speaking countries the participation rate was 54%, compared with 65% for persons born in main English-speaking countries (table 6.6).

6.6 CIVILIAN LABOUR FORCE, By Birthplace, Annual Average(a) - 2000-01

Employed
Unemployed
Full-time
workers
’000
Total
’000
Looking
for
full-time
work
’000
Total
’000
Total
labour
force
’000
Unemploy-
ment

rate
%
Participation
rate(b)
%

Born in Australia
4,982.5
6,877.3
348.2
478.9
7,356.2
6.5
67.4
Born outside Australia
- Main English-speaking countries
735.4
967.6
47.2
60.0
1,027.6
5.8
64.5
- Other than main English-speaking countries
969.5
1,265.6
82.9
108.8
1,374.4
7.9
54.0
- Oceania
239.1
307.5
20.6
25.7
333.2
7.7
75.9
- Europe and the former USSR
835.9
1,099.0
53.9
67.8
1,166.7
5.8
52.6
- The Middle East and North Africa
79.2
105.3
12.7
15.3
120.5
12.7
49.9
- South-East Asia
211.9
272.4
19.8
27.0
299.5
9.0
62.1
- North-East Asia
109.0
145.6
6.9
10.0
155.6
6.4
53.5
- Northern-America
37.9
49.3
1.8
2.6
51.8
4.9
70.3
- Other
191.9
253.8
14.3
20.5
274.3
7.5
69.8
Total born outside Australia
1,704.9
2,233.2
130.0
168.8
2,402.0
7.0
58.0
Total
6,687.4
9,110.5
478.2
647.7
9,758.1
6.6
64.8

(a) Data have not been revised to reflect definitional changes in the Labour Force Survey questionnaire introduced in April 2001. Data collected from April 2001 onwards are not strictly comparable with data collected in earlier periods. For further information, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (6295.0).
(b) Participation rate calculated using population estimates which exclude those in institutions.

Source: Labour Force Australia (6203.0).

Table 6.7 provides an overview of labour force status of persons at June 2001, according to the family relationship within households. Notable features include: for couple families with dependants present, 83% of husbands were employed full-time, compared with 27% of wives (with a further 36% of wives employed part-time). Some 61% of male lone parents were employed full-time compared with 21% of female lone parents. The unemployment rate for husbands or wives was lower than for all other groups.

6.7 LABOUR FORCE STATUS, Relationship in Household(a)(b) - June 2001

Employed
Unemployed
Full-time
’000
Total
’000
Looking
for
full-time
work
’000
Total
’000
Labour
force
’000
Not in
labour
force
’000
Civilian
population
aged 15
and over
’000
Unemploy-
ment

rate
%
Participation
rate
%

MALES

Family member
3,557.1
4,147.4
231.2
279.7
4,427.1
1,554.1
5,981.2
6.3
74.0
Husband -
- With dependants
1,727.6
1,847.8
74.5
80.1
1,927.9
159.2
2,087.2
4.2
92.4
- Without dependants
1,174.1
1,339.2
51.1
57.1
1,396.3
951.7
2,348.0
4.1
59.5
- Total
2,902.0
3,187.0
125.6
137.3
3,324.3
1,110.9
4,435.2
4.1
75.0
Lone parent -
- With dependants
43.5
50.0
*4.7
*5.4
55.4
16.0
71.2
9.7
77.8
- Without dependants
21.2
24.1
*2.8
*2.8
26.9
21.6
48.4
*10.4
55.5
- Total
64.7
74.1
7.5
8.2
82.3
37.5
119.8
10.0
68.7
Dependent student(c)
4.9
188.0
*3.7
31.1
219.2
257.5
476.7
14.2
46.0
Non-dependent child(d)
508.3
605.2
83.7
90.4
695.6
96.7
792.3
13.0
87.8
Other family person
77.3
93.0
10.8
12.7
105.8
51.4
157.2
12.0
67.3
Non-family member -
669.9
787.1
68.9
77.1
864.2
375.3
1,239.6
8.9
69.7
- Lone person
393.3
452.7
38.4
41.8
494.6
284.0
778.5
8.5
63.5
- Not living alone
276.6
334.4
30.5
35.3
369.7
91.4
461.0
9.6
80.2
Total
4,227.1
4,934.5
300.1
356.9
5,291.4
1,929.4
7,220.8
6.7
73.3

FEMALES

Family member
1,737.0
3,356.0
141.2
224.0
3,580.0
2,517.4
6,097.3
6.3
58.7
Wife -
- With dependants
529.7
1,240.9
34.1
58.1
1,299.0
684.7
1,983.7
4.5
65.5
- Without dependants
719.4
1,139.2
29.3
37.8
1,176.9
1,115.7
2,292.6
3.2
51.3
- Total
1,249.0
2,380.0
63.4
95.9
2,475.9
1,800.4
4,276.3
3.9
57.9
Lone parent -
- With dependants
106.7
237.3
27.7
44.6
281.9
215.4
497.4
15.8
56.7
- Without dependants
39.3
58.2
*4.0
5.1
63.3
112.1
175.4
8.0
36.1
- Total
146.0
295.5
31.7
49.7
345.2
327.6
672.8
14.4
51.3
Dependent student(c)
5.0
229.0
5.4
32.3
261.3
22.1
483.4
12.4
54.0
Non-dependent child(d)
281.7
369.3
34.4
38.2
407.5
57.3
464.8
9.4
87.7
Other family person
55.2
82.2
6.3
8.0
90.1
109.9
200.0
8.8
45.1
Non-family member -
398.8
549.0
29.5
40.7
589.7
647.6
1,237.3
6.9
47.7
- Lone person
228.1
310.2
18.0
25.5
335.8
577.7
913.2
7.6
36.8
- Not living alone
170.7
238.8
11.5
15.1
253.9
70.1
324.1
6.0
78.4
Total
2,135.7
3,905.0
170.7
264.7
4,169.6
3,165.0
7,334.6
6.3
56.8

PERSONS

Family member
5,294.1
7,503.4
372.4
503.7
8,007.1
4,071.4
12,078.5
6.3
66.3
Husband or wife -
- With dependants
2,257.3
3,088.7
108.6
138.2
3,226.9
844.0
4,070.9
4.3
79.3
- Without dependants
1,893.8
2,478.4
80.4
94.9
2,573.3
2,067.4
4,640.7
3.7
55.5
- Total
4,151.0
5,567.0
189.0
233.1
5,800.2
2,911.4
8,711.5
4.0
66.6
Lone parent -
- With dependants
150.1
287.3
32.3
50.0
337.4
231.4
568.7
9.6
59.3
- Without dependants
60.5
82.3
6.8
7.9
90.2
133.7
223.9
8.7
40.3
-Total
210.6
369.6
39.1
57.9
427.5
365.1
792.6
13.5
53.9
Dependent student(c)
9.9
417.0
9.1
63.4
480.4
479.7
960.1
13.2
50.0
Non-dependent child(d)
790.0
974.5
118.0
128.6
1,103.1
154.0
1,257.1
11.7
87.7
Other family person
132.5
175.2
17.1
20.7
195.9
161.3
357.2
10.6
54.8
Non-family member -
1,068.7
1,336.1
98.4
117.8
1,453.9
1,022.9
2,476.9
8.1
58.7
- Lone person
621.4
763.0
56.4
67.4
830.3
861.4
1,691.8
8.1
49.1
- Not living alone
447.3
573.1
42.0
50.5
623.6
161.5
785.1
8.1
79.4
Total
6,362.8
8,839.5
470.9
621.5
9,461.0
5,094.4
14,555.4
6.6
65.0

(a) Data have not been revised to reflect definitional changes in the Labour Force Survey questionnaire introduced in April 2001. Data collected from April 2001 onwards are not strictly comparable with data collected in earlier periods. For further information, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (6295.0).
(b) Excludes 850,300 persons whose family status was not determined.
(c) Excludes persons aged 20-24 attending school. Also excludes sons or daughters aged 15-24 who are classified as husbands, wives or lone parents.
(d) Aged 15 and over.

Source: Labour Force Australia (6203.0).


Previous PageNext Page


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.