Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003
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In the Labour Force Survey, people are considered to be unemployed if they satisfy three criteria: they are not employed; they are available for work; and they are taking active steps to find work.
6.18 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: Trend estimates
Unemployment rates vary across states (table 6.19). For 2001-02, the average unemployment rate was 6.6%, with the Australian Capital Territory (4.6%), New South Wales (6.1%), Victoria (6.3%) and Western Australia (6.5%) all below the national average. Tasmania (8.8%) and Queensland (7.9%) both recorded unemployment rates well above the national average.
There are also differences in the rates of unemployment between the capital cities and regional areas. In 2001-02, the unemployment rate for all capital cities was 6.3%, compared to 7.3% for all regional areas. New South Wales had the largest difference, with Sydney recording an unemployment rate of 5.2%, while for the rest of New South Wales the rate was 8.0%. In contrast, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania all recorded lower unemployment rates in regional areas than in their capitals.
The number of unemployed persons increased from 647,700 in 2000-01 to 656,800 in 2001-02 (table 6.20). This represents the first annual increase since the peak of 914,100 in 1992-93.
In 2001-02, 63.3% of unemployed persons had been unemployed for less than 26 weeks, while 22.4% had been unemployed for 52 weeks or more (long-term unemployed). In contrast, in 1997-98, 51.8% of unemployed persons had been unemployed for less than 26 weeks, while 31.7% were long-term unemployed.
Educational qualifications have a significant bearing on labour market prospects. Table 6.21 shows that, as the level of educational attainment decreases, the unemployment rate increases, from 2.8% for those with a bachelor degree or higher to 11.0% for those who had completed Year 10 or below. It also shows the relationship between the level of highest educational attainment and duration of unemployment. Of unemployed persons with a bachelor degree or above, 13% were long-term unemployed, compared to 30% of those who had completed Year 10 or below.
Unemployed persons can encounter a variety of difficulties in finding work, as shown in table 6.22. The most commonly reported difficulties were 'Considered too young or too old by employers' (11.7%), 'Insufficient work experience' (11.6%) and 'Too many applicants for available jobs' (11.5%). The proportions of males and females who reported most of the more common difficulties are largely similar. However, females were more likely to report insufficient work experience as their main difficulty (14.5% compared to 9.6% for males), as well as difficulties that relate to concerns outside of the workplace, such as 'Unsuitable hours' (8.5% to 2.5%) and 'Difficulties with childcare, other family responsibilities' (4.4% to 0.3%). Males were more likely to report their main difficulty as being related to the availability of work, for example, 'No vacancies at all' (12.4% compared to 8.1% for females) and 'No vacancies in line of work' (12.1% compared to 7.9% for females).
This page last updated 23 January 2006
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