Articles and Analysis
This section provides a summary of the latest articles and analysis by the Labour Market Statistics National Statistical Centre within various publications, promoting the effective use of labour market statistics. Articles and Analysis also includes references to labour articles in key ABS publications, such as Australian Social Trends.
Duration of underutilisation
The recent economic downturn has brought increased attention to changes in both unemployment and underemployment. The labour market appears to have responded to the recent economic downturn in a slightly different fashion to previous downturns, with lower than expected increases in unemployment. Understanding trends in the duration of underemployment is important in providing a holistic view of underutilisation and how this is changing over time. This article was published in the April 2010 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) and provides data for the past ten years, in order to show changes in long-term unemployment and underemployment.
Retrenched unemployed people
This article presents indicative estimates from May 2001 to February 2010 of retrenched people currently unemployed using data from the Labour Force Survey. By combining information on the duration of unemployment, together with information on the reason for unemployment, it is possible to identify retrenchments, and when they occurred. This article was published in the April 2010 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).
Dynamics of Trade Union Membership
This article presents a range of information about trade union membership in Australia. In 2009, the first significant annual increase in the proportion of employees who were trade union members was observed, increasing by one percentage point to 20% of all employees. In addition to time series information about levels of trade union membership, the article explores a range new data about trade union members including duration of membership and previous membership. Information is presented by age, occupation, industry, state and sector. This article was published in the July 2010 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).
Aggregate monthly hours worked
This article explores trends in aggregate monthly hours worked per employed person. Analysis of the aggregate monthly hours worked per employed person over the last 32 years period reveals movements in the distribution of work amongst different populations of employed persons in the labour market, and is particularly illuminating during periods of economic downturn. Over the last 32 years, it is found that while the aggregate monthly hours worked per full- and per part-time employed person has risen, the aggregate monthly hours worked per employed person has fallen, which is partially explained by a large decrease in the ratio of full- to part-time employed persons. The aggregate monthly hours worked per employed person are also compared to the unemployment and underemployment rates, and we find some credence in anecdotal evidence that employers partially weathered the storm of the recent economic downturn by reducing employee hours rather than by retrenching workers. This article was published in the July 2010 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).
Working Time Arrangements
This article highlights changes made to the Working Time Arrangements survey in 2009. The Working Time Arrangements survey is conducted every three years as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey. The article discusses question sequencing changes that occurred for questions asked of employees on whether they had agreements to work flexible hours and whether guaranteed minimum number of hours. These questions were asked of only a subset of employees in 2006 but were asked of all employees in 2009. Comparisons are then made of the extent of these arrangements using the sequencing from 2006, whilst the demographic characteristics of people who have access to these arrangements are also featured. It also explores the new data item in 2009, 'Whether usually worked shift work and type of shift usually worked'. This article was published in the July 2010 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).
The labour market during recent economic downturns
For many people, the most direct impact of an economic downturn is the effect it has on their opportunities in the labour market. The impact of economic downturns on the Australian labour market depends to a large degree on the extent of the contraction in economic growth and economic conditions experienced by our major trading partners. The effect of downturns has also changed in recent times due to shifts in the Australian labour market including, among other things, increased female labour force participation, and a marked increase in part-time employment. This article was published in the March 2010 issue of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0).
Underemployment has declined from its peak during the recent economic downturn, but there are still many more underemployed people than unemployed. The recent economic downturn, reinforced the need to look beyond the unemployment rate in order to better explain what is happening in the labour market. This article looks at underemployment in Australia over the last 30 years and the effect the recent economic downturn had on underemployment. This article was published in the June 2010 release of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0).