Footnote(s): (a) Annual average.
Source(s): ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, May 2012 (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001)
Paid work is the way in which most people obtain the economic resources they need for day-to-day living. Having paid work contributes to a person's sense of identity and self-esteem, while people's involvement in paid work also contributes to economic growth and development.
The unemployment rate is relevant to both the economic and social aspects of work. The unemployment rate is the most widely used measure of under utilised labour resources in the economy and is sensitive to changes in economic conditions. Generally, in recent decades, the unemployment rate has tended to rise quickly during economic downturns and fall slowly during periods of economic recovery. Unemployment can also have negative consequences upon the financial and psychological wellbeing of both individuals and their families.
For most of the last decade, the unemployment rate declined as a result of Australia's strong economic growth, from a high of 6.8% in 2001 to a low of 4.2% in 2008. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the unemployment rate rose to 5.6% in 2009 before declining to 5.2% in 2010. In 2011, the unemployment rate declined a further 0.1 percentage points to 5.1%.
For a more in-depth discussion about how work relates to progress, please see the Work chapter in Measures of Australia’s Progress, 2010 (cat. no. 1370.0).
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