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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, September 2013 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2014  Final
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

OVERVIEW

In September 2013, the Persons Not in the Labour Force survey found there were 6.3 million people aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force. This represented 34% of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, and has remained stable over recent years (Table 1).

Of those people not in the labour force:

  • 60% were women;
  • 22% wanted to work (23% of women and 20% of men) (Table 1); and
  • 16% were aged 15–24 years, 40% were aged 25–64 years and 43% were aged 65 years and over (Table 2).
Persons not in the labour force, Proportion of the civilian population-Age group (years)-By sex, 2013
Graph: Persons not in the labour force, Proportion of the civilian population-Age group (years)-By sex, 2013

The proportion of persons not in the labour force was highest in the age groups most likely to be retired (73% for those aged 65–69 years and 94% for those 70 years and over) and those in the age group coinciding with school study (46% for those aged 15–19 years) (Table 3).

Apart from those aged 15–19 years, there were a higher proportion of women who were not in the labour force than men (Table 3).

The main activity reported for those not in the labour force varied by age. The main activity for those aged 15–24 years was attending an educational institution (81%), while for those 65 years and over, it was retired or voluntarily inactive (53% for 65–69 years and 62% for those 70 years and over) (Table 2).

Across the other age groups (25 to 64 years), the most common main activity for males was own long term health condition or disability (32%). For women the most common main activity was home duties (37%) (Table 2).
    WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

    In September 2013, there were 1,004,000 people with marginal attachment to the labour force, a significant increase from 918,100 in 2012, representing approximately 16% of people not in the labour force.

    Persons not in the labour force are considered to be marginally attached to the labour force if they:

    • wanted to work and were actively looking for work but were not available to start work in the reference week (89,100); or
    • wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were available to start work within four weeks (914,900).
    Of those with marginal attachment to the labour force:
    • 608,300 (61%) were women;
    • 91% were not actively looking for work, but were available to start work within four weeks (Table 1);
    • 288,700 (29%) were aged 15–24 years (Table 3); and
    • 197,800 (20%) had never held a job (Table 4).
    The largest age group of men with marginal attachment to the labour force were 15–19 years (26%), followed by men 25–34 years (14%). By comparison, the two largest age groups of women with marginal attachment to the labour force were 35–44 years (23%) and 25–34 years (23%) (Table 3).

    Main activity when not in the labour force



    Persons with marginal attachment, Selected main activity when not in the labour force-By sex, 2013

    Graph: Persons with marginal attachment, Selected main activity when not in the labour force-Bey sex, 2013

    The most commonly reported main activity for men with marginal attachment to the labour force was 'Attending an educational institution' (37% of men compared to 20% of women), whereas for women it was 'Home duties' (32% of women compared to 13% of men) and 'Caring for children' (27% of women compared to 3% of men) (Table 4). 

    Wanted to work but not actively looking

    There were 265,400 people not in the labour force because they were caring for children who wanted to work but were not actively looking for work. The majority (95%) were women (Table 9).

    Time since last job

    In September 2013, 80% (806,200) of people with marginal attachment to the labour force had worked before. Of these people about a third (31%) had worked less than 12 months ago, and a further 22% had worked one to three years ago (Table 4).

    Not actively looking for work - Intention to enter the labour force in the next 12 months

    There were 914,900 people who were marginally attached to the labour force but not actively looking for work and available to start work within four weeks. This is a significant increase from 833,700 in 2012. Of these people, 657,200 (72%) indicated that they intended to, or might enter the labour force in the next 12 months, of whom:

    • 393,100 (60%) were women;
    • 68,400 (10%) were discouraged job seekers (see below); and
    • 440,900 (67%) reported that they would prefer to work part-time (Table 5).

    Of women with marginal attachment to the labour force who were not actively looking for work and who intended to or might enter the workforce in the next 12 months, 295,700 (75%) preferred part-time work, while 86,300 (22%) preferred full-time work. For men, 145,300 (55%) preferred part-time work and 105,100 (40%) preferred full-time work. The remaining people did not know if they wanted to work full-time or part-time.

    The main reasons for those not actively looking for work who stated they intended to, or might enter the labour force in the next 12 months, were that they were currently attending an education institution (26%) or they were caring for children (16%).

    Of those with marginal attachment who were not actively looking for work, 23% reported that they were not intending to enter the labour force in the next 12 months (Table 5).


    Discouraged Job Seekers

    In September 2013, there were 117,200 discouraged job seekers aged 15 years and over. Historically, the proportion of male discouraged jobseekers has been less than females, however, in 2013 the proportion of male discouraged jobseekers has risen to 53% (62,200) up from 47% (50,200) in 2012 (Table 1).

    Discouraged job seekers are those people with marginal attachment to the labour force who wanted to work and were available to start work within the next four weeks but whose main reason for not actively looking for work was that they believed they would not find a job for any of the following reasons:
    • considered to be too young or too old by employers;
    • believes ill health or disability discourages employers;
    • lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience;
    • difficulties because of language or ethnic background;
    • no jobs in their locality or line of work;
    • no jobs with suitable hours; or
    • no jobs at all.
    Of the 117,200 discouraged job seekers:
    • 66,800 (57%) were aged 55 years and over;
    • 55,000 (47%) were women and 62,200 (53%) were men;
    • 16,900 (14%) had never had a job (Table 7);
    • 68,400 (58%) intended to or might enter the labour force in the next 12 months (Table 7), of whom 66% preferred to work part-time (Table 5);
    • 40,500 were not currently looking for work but had looked for work in the previous 12 months (Table 7); and
    • 44,900 (38%) did not intend to enter the labour force in the next 12 months, of whom 52% stated the main reason they were not actively looking for work was because they were 'Considered too old by employers' (Table 5).
    Discouraged job seekers, Selected main reason for not actively looking for work-By sex, 2013
    Graph: Discouraged job seekers, Selected main reason for not actively looking for work-By sex, 2013



    For all discouraged job seekers, the most commonly reported main reason for not actively looking for work was 'Considered too old by employers' (33%). This was followed by 'No jobs in locality or line of work' (20%) (Table 5).


    Main reason for not actively looking for work - those who were not discouraged job seekers

    There were 797,700 people who were not discouraged job seekers, who wanted to work, but were not actively looking for work and were available to start work within four weeks. These people accounted for 79% of all people with marginal attachment to the labour force (Table 4). This is a significant increase from 727,200 people in 2012.

    Of the 797,700 people who were not discouraged job seekers, the most commonly reported main reason for not actively looking for work, by men, was 'Attending an educational institution' (36%), followed by 'Own long-term health condition or disability' (14%). By comparison, the most commonly reported main reason for women was 'Caring for children' (30%), followed by 'Attending an educational institution' (17%) (Table 6). 


    Persons who were not discouraged job seekers, marginally attached to the labour force, not actively looking for work and available, Selected main reason for not actively looking for work-By sex, 2013

    Graph: Persons who were not discouraged job seekers, marginally attached to the labour force, not actively looking for work and available

    WITHOUT MARGINAL ATTACHMENT TO THE LABOUR FORCE

    In September 2013, there were 5.3 million people (2.2 million men and 3.1 million women) aged 15 years and over without marginal attachment to the labour force. Of these:

    • 84% reported that they did not want to work, or did not know if they wanted to work;
    • 7% wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start work within four weeks (Table 1);
    • 9% were permanently unable to work;
    • 49% were aged 65 years and over (53% of all men and 47% of all women);
    • 15% were aged 55–64 years old; and
    • 17% never had a job, of whom 59% were women (Table 8).

    Main activity when not in the labour force

    For those without marginal attachment to the labour force, the most commonly reported main activity when not in the labour force was 'Retired or voluntarily inactive' (35%) followed by 'Home duties' (20%) (Table 8).

    Time since last job

    In September 2013, there were 4.4 million people without marginal attachment to the labour force who had previously had a job. Of these:

    • 54% last worked 10 or more years ago; and
    • 21% last worked less than 3 years ago (Table 8).


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