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People are considered to be employed if they were in paid work for one hour or more in the reference week. Those people who have a job or a business, but were absent from work in the reference week, are also considered to be employed. This section contains information about people who are employed, including their status in employment and whether they worked full-time or part-time. The section also includes information about people who are underemployed, that is, people who work part-time but would like to work more hours.
Relating employment levels to population levels enables the evaluation of the strength of job growth as compared to population growth. The measure relating these two levels is the employment/population ratio. Its usefulness lies in the fact that, while movements in the employment level reflect net changes in the levels of persons holding jobs, movements in the ratio reflect net changes in the number of persons employed relative to changes in the size of the population. The overall employment/population ratio rose from 58% in 1995-96 to 60% in 2000-01 (table 6.8).
The 55-59 year age group has shown the most notable increase over recent years (to 58% in 2000-01). For females in this group the employment/population ratio rose from 39% in 1995-96 to 47% in 2000-01, while for males the ratio rose from 66% to 69% over the same period. For males, the highest ratio in 2000-01 was for those aged 25-34 (89%), while for females, those aged 20-24 showed the highest proportion employed (72%).
Table 6.9 shows information for employed persons according to their status in employment (i.e. employers, own-account workers, employees and contributing family workers, as in diagram 6.1). The number of employees continues to rise, up 190,600 since 1999-2000. The number of employers has fallen from 363,900 in 1995-96 to 329,700 in 2000-01, while the number of own-account workers has increased for the second year in a row, up 10,500 on the number recorded in 1999-2000.
Full-time workers are those who worked 35 hours or more during the reference week of the Labour Force Survey, or who usually work 35 hours or more each week. Part-time workers are those who usually work less than 35 hours a week and who did so during the reference week. In 2000-01 there were 4,421,700 males employed full-time (87% of male employment). The number of females employed full-time was 2,269,500 (56% of female employment). For males, part-time work is most prevalent among the younger (aged 15-19) and older (over 64) age groups (59% and 43% respectively). For females, at least a third of each age group work part-time, with the 15-19 (73%), over 64 (69%) and 60-64 (57%) age groups having the highest proportion of part-time workers (table 6.10).
Underemployment exists when people who are working part-time have a preference to work more hours. The number of underemployed workers is an important indicator of labour market performance. It highlights the unsatisfied aspirations of many workers for adequate work and greater earnings.
In September 2000 there were 9,138,200 employed persons aged 15 and over. Of these, 437,400 (5%) usually worked part-time and wanted to work more hours, and less than 1% usually worked full-time but worked part-time in the survey reference week for economic reasons (table 6.11).
Of all part-time workers who wanted more hours, 62% were female. Some 62% of part-time workers who wanted more hours reported that they would like to work full-time hours.
Graph 6.12 shows the usual hours worked and preferred number of extra hours of part-time workers. Of the persons who usually work between one and ten hours per week, almost half would like to work an extra 20 hours or more per week. For those persons usually working between 21 and 34 hours, the vast majority would prefer to work an extra 10 to 19 hours per week.