ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents information about the labour force characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Information on labour force characteristics is presented by sex, age, state or territory, and remoteness.
The statistics in this publication were compiled from the monthly Labour Force Survey, conducted throughout Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Monthly data have been pooled to produce annual estimates.
Due to a change in methodology, estimates from the 1994-2000 release under this catalogue number - Occasional Paper: Labour Force Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Experimental Estimates from the Labour force Survey (cat. no. 6287.0), are not strictly comparable with the estimates for 2002-2007 in this publication.
The Labour Force Survey has methodological and definitional differences when compared with other sources of Indigenous Labour Force data, such as the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing, the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), and the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS). The differences in the methodologies used affect the comparability of the estimates.
As estimates have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Rebecca Cash on Canberra (02) 6252 5390.
In 2007, an estimated 183,800 Indigenous people were in the labour force (i.e. either employed or unemployed). This represents a labour force participation rate for all Indigenous people aged 15 years and over of 56%.
Of the Indigenous people in the labour force, more lived in Regional areas (80,500 people) than in Major Cities (58,200) or Remote areas (45,100). Both Major cities and Regional areas had the highest participation rate at 58% in 2007.
Males accounted for 56% of the Indigenous labour force in 2007. The labour force participation rate for Indigenous males (65%) was considerably higher than for Indigenous females (48%). After a steady decline in the participation rate of Indigenous males and females in Remote areas from 2002 to 2005, the participation rate increased in 2006, but has fallen again in 2007.
The participation rate for Indigenous people aged 15-64 years (59%) was slightly higher than the rate for all Indigenous people aged 15 years and over (56%). Indigenous people aged 65 years and over accounted for 4% of the total Indigenous population aged 15 years and over in 2007. For more information see the publication.
Between 2002 and 2004, the Indigenous population not in the labour force increased from 117,600 to 137,700. After falling slightly in 2005 and 2006, the number has risen to 142,700 in 2007. In 2007, more Indigenous people not in the labour force lived in Regional areas (57,300) than in Remote areas (43,700) and Major Cities (41,600). Females accounted for 61% of the total Indigenous population not in the labour force.
In 2007, there were an estimated 158,000 Indigenous people aged 15 years and over in employment. This represented half of the Indigenous population aged 15 years and over. This represented 48% of the Indigenous population aged 15 years and over. The employment to population ratio for Indigenous males (56%) was largely unchanged from the relatively high estimate seen in 2006 (57%). The employment to population ratio for Indigenous females fell from 44% in 2006 to 41% in 2007, the same level as seen in 2005.
In 2007, there were an estimated 50,100 Indigenous people employed in Major Cities, 66,600 employed in Regional areas and 41,200 employed in Remote areas. The employment to population ratio was 50% in Major Cities, 48% in Regional areas and 46% in Remote areas. The employment to population ratio of Indigenous females in Remote areas decreased 17 percentage points between 2002 and 2005, and after increasing by 5 percentage points in 2006, has fallen slightly to 38% in 2007. The employment to population ratio for Indigenous males in Remote areas has also decreased from 56% in 2006 to 55% in 2007. Indigenous people participating in the CDEP scheme, who are classified by the ABS as employed, are likely to form a significant proportion of Indigenous employment in remote areas (see National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (cat.no.4714.0)).
Employment to population ratio,
Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over
In 2007, the unemployment rate for the Indigenous population was 14%. The unemployment rate for Indigenous people was 14% in Major Cities, 17% in Regional areas, and 9% in Remote areas. However, estimates of unemployment for Remote areas should be used with great care as they are subject to high sampling errors. In addition, Remote areas generally have an underdeveloped labour market and this is reflected in the low number of Indigenous people actively looking for work and therefore not classified as unemployed.