1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2008 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2009   
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Paid work is the way most people obtain the economic resources needed for themselves and their dependents, both for day-to-day living and to meet their longer term financial needs. Work allows individuals to build their skills and social networks and enhance their own identity, and contributes to economic growth and development. People without paid work may be at risk of poverty and isolation.


The number of people in paid employment in NSW has grown steadily over the last decade. In 2007-08, the number of employed people in NSW was 3.4 million, up from 3.1 million in 2001-02, including an increase of 80,000 from 2006-07 to 2007-08. Much of this increase can be attributed to population growth, however the participation rate has also increased from 62% in 2001-02 to 64% in 2007-08. Over the same period, the proportion of the labour force employed full-time has decreased from 74% to 72%, while the corresponding proportion of the labour force employed part-time has increased from 26% to 28%.

From 2001-02 to 2007-08, the unemployment rate in NSW fell from 6.2% to 4.6%, reflecting the economic growth which occurred over the period. The labour force underutilisation rate also fell from 13% in August 2003 to 11% in August 2008 (the comparable unemployment rate decreased from 5.7% in August 2003 to 4.9% in August 2008). The labour force underutilisation rate is the unemployed plus the underemployed, as a percentage of the labour force.

In 2007-08, among the Labour Force Survey Dissemination Regions of NSW, the highest rate of unemployment was recorded in the Illawarra Statistical Region (6.9%) and the lowest was recorded in the Eastern Suburbs Statistical Region (2.2%). The Local Government Area with the highest estimated rate of unemployment in NSW (14%) was Brewarrina, in the Orana region. Conversely, several NSW LGAs recorded an estimated unemployment rate of just above 1%, such as Ku-ring-gai, Woollahra and Yass.

Graph: Full-time and Total employment, NSW: Trend

Graph: Unemployment rate, NSW: Trend

Graph: Unemployment and labour force underutilisation rates, NSW


Between May 2002 and May 2008, 77% of the increase in employment in NSW was in the highest skilled occupations (skill levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO)). The skill levels of occupations relate to the requirement of the position rather than the actual qualifications of the person employed. Over this period, occupations requiring an ASCO skill level 1 (graduate degree or equivalent experience) showed the largest increase in employed persons (152,000 persons, or 43% of total employment growth). Jobs requiring an ASCO skill level 2 (diploma or equivalent experience) also grew strongly (83,000 persons or 24% of total employment growth). The number of employed persons in occupations with ASCO skill levels 4 or 5 (trades qualification equivalent or Certificate III or IV and below) remained comparatively steady, resulting in a decline in their relative proportion of the increasing labour supply.

EMPLOYED PERSONS, By occupational skill level, NSW
Graph: Employed Persons, By occupational skill level, NSW


A significant challenge facing many developed countries is an ageing population. The increase in the proportion of employed persons working part-time is one measure which has widened opportunities for people to make the transition to retirement. The proportion of employed persons aged 55-64 years working part-time has increased from 13% in October 2000 to 16% in February 2008. This flexibility is reflected by the increase in the female participation rate in the years before retirement (aged 55-64 years) from 33% in 1999-2000 to 47% in 2007-08. The equivalent male participation rate has remained relatively steady.

TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT, Persons aged 55-64 years, NSW
Graph: Transition to retirement, Persons aged 55–64 years, NSW


Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0)

Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0)

Forms of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6359.0)

Industrial Disputes, Australia (cat. no. 6321.0.55.001)

Job Vacancies, Australia (cat. no. 6354.0)

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed-Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001)

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003)

Labour Force, Australia, Spreadsheets (cat. no. 6202.0.55.001)

Small Area Labour Markets, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations