1301.6.55.001 - Tasmanian Statistical News, Mar 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/03/2010   
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Tasmanian unemployment rate comparable to or lower than the national rate
Preliminary school results are out!
Ageing population
Retirement intentions


Tasmania's economic good fortune continues to be expressed in unemployment rates lower than or equal to national rates. Since June 2008, Tasmania has recorded levels of unemployment at or below the national rate.

The trend unemployment rate for Tasmania in January 2010 was 5.4%, with an estimated 13,300 people unemployed. Of these, 57.9% were male. The national unemployment rate was also 5.4%.

At the same time there were an estimated 232,200 employed people in Tasmania. Of these 154,400 (66.5%) were employed full-time. Males represented 66.0% of full-time workers.

Tasmania's labour force participation rate in January was 60.2% compared to the national rate of 65.3%.

Further information is available in Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2010 (ABS cat. no. 6202.0).


Schools, Australia, Preliminary, 2009 (ABS cat. no. 4220.0) recorded 274 schools in Tasmania in 2009. Of these, 207 were government , 37 were Catholic and 30 independent. This was a reduction of 3 schools from 2008, all from the government sector.

Full-time student numbers decreased by 0.8%, from 81,591 in 2008 to 80,907 in 2009.

In 2009, Tasmanian education underwent a significant restructure of post-year 10 education. This reform, entitled Tasmania Tomorrow, created three new statutory organisations (called the Tasmanian Academy, the Tasmanian Polytechnic and the Tasmanian Skills Institute) from the merger of state government colleges (years 11 and 12) and TAFE Tasmania. In 2009 four of Tasmania's eight government colleges, along with TAFE Tasmania, were restructured and brought under the authority of the Tasmanian Academy and the Tasmanian Polytechnic. The four remaining colleges continued under the authority of the Tasmanian Department of Education (TDE) and are planned to transition to the new structure by 2012. School Census data from the Tasmanian Polytechnic and the Tasmanian Academy were combined with TDE data to provide the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) data submission for Tasmanian government schools. TDE undertook a process of data collection, cleaning, reconciliation and application of scope to ensure that the data provided to the NSSC fully complied with collection definitions.

One of the primary aims of the Tasmania Tomorrow initiative is to improve the apparent retention rate (ARR) from year 10 to year 12 in Tasmania. The ARR is the number of school students in a designated level-year of education expressed as a percentage of their respective cohort group in a base year. For example, the 2009 ARR for year 10 to year 12, the cohort group in the base year would be the number of year 10 students in 2007, and the designated level-year of education would be the number of year 12 students in 2009.

In 2009 Tasmania's apparent retention rate of full-time students year 10 to year 12 was 64.1%. This represented a decrease from the 2008 rate of 64.9%. The Tasmanian ARR has continued to fall in recent years, from a high of 76.4% in 2003, while the national ARR has remained relatively steady, in the range between 75 and 77% over the same period.


Graph: Graph Apparent Retention Rate


Australia's population, like that of most developed countries, is ageing as a result of sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy. This is resulting in proportionally fewer children (under 15 years of age) in the population. The median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) of the Australian population has increased by 5.1 years over the last two decades, from 31.8 years at 30 June 1989 to 36.9 years at 30 June 2009. Between 30 June 2008 and 30 June 2009 the median age remained steady at 36.9.

At 30 June 2009, Tasmania had the oldest population of all the states and territories with a median age of 39.6 years. The second oldest was South Australia with a median age of 39.1 years, followed by New South Wales (37.1 years), Victoria (37.0 years), Western Australia (36.3 years), Queensland (36.2 years), the Australian Capital Territory (34.7 years) and the Northern Territory (31.2 years).

Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the last 20 years, increasing by 7.8 years from 31.8 years in 1989 to 39.6 years in 2009. The emigration of younger adults from Tasmania to the Australian mainland has contributed to this accelerated ageing, see Migration, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3412.0).

The sex ratio relates to the number of males per 100 females in a population or subpopulation. The Australian sex ratio at birth is approximately 105 males per 100 females. Higher male mortality rates at younger ages results in the ratio approaching 100 for the 30-64 years age group. Net Overseas Migration can also influence the sex ratio, especially in the younger working ages where there is often a greater proportion of male migrants. Above age 65, the sex ratio reduces markedly due to the impact of higher male mortality on this population group.

At 30 June 2009, the sex ratio of the total population for Australia was 99.1 males per 100 females. At age 0, the sex ratio for Australia in 2009 was 105.3 males per 100 females. This excess of males in the earlier years contrasts with the opposite situation in the older years and for the total population which can be attributed to female longevity. In 2008-09, Tasmania had the lowest sex ratio, with 97.4 males per 100 females.

In 2006-2008, life expectancy at birth for Tasmanian males was 77.7 years and 82.3 years for females.

For further information on life expectancy, see Life Tables, Tasmania (ABS cat. no. 3302.6.55.001)

For further information on population by age and sex, see Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (ABS cat. no. 3201.0)

Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2008 to June 2009 (ABS cat. no. 6238.0) identified 101,800 persons in the labour force in Tasmania aged 45 years and over, with 99,800 (98%) of those being employed. Of employed persons aged 45 years and over, 35,200 (35%) usually worked part-time in their main job. Most of these part-time workers (73%) were female.

While 30% of persons in the labour force aged 45 years and over didn't know at which age they intend to retire, 32% indicated they intended to retire between 65-69 years of age, and 19% between 60-64 years.

The average age of intended retirement in Tasmania has increased from 61.1 years (females 59.6 years, males 62.1 years) in 2004-05 to 63.0 years (females 62.0 years, males 63.8 years) in 2008-09.

ABS definitions:


People who, during the reference week:
  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or
  • worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
  • were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
      • away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
      • away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
      • away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
      • on strike or locked out; or
      • on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job; or
      • were employers or own account workers who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.

Intends to retire from the labour force

Those people who indicated that they intend to give up all labour force activity, that is working or looking for work.

Labour Force

The civilian population can be split into two mutually exclusive groups: the labour force (employed and unemployed people) and people not in the labour force.

Part-time workers

Employed people who usually work less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs).