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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
In this publication the terms worked and looked for work have been used to describe labour force activity throughout the year. Note that these terms are not the same as the more precisely defined terms employed and unemployed, which are used in the monthly Labour Force Survey to describe current labour force status.
ALL PERSONS AGED 15 TO 69 YEARS
There were 13,749,300 civilian Australians aged 15-69 years in February 2003.
During the year ending February 2003:
Participation in the labour force
There were 10,755,200 persons aged 15-69 years in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2003. That is, 78% of Australians aged 15-69 years either worked or looked for work at some time during the year.
Some 85% of males aged 15-69 years participated in the labour force at some time in the 12 months to February 2003. This figure has remained relatively steady since 1993. For females, the proportion participating over the same period has steadily increased from 67% in 1993 to 72% in 2003.
By age group, the highest participation in the labour force in the year ending February 2003 was for persons aged 20-24 years (90%). Labour force participation fell to 48% for persons aged 55-69 years. Males participated at higher rates than females in all age groups except for persons aged 15-19 years in which females participated at a slightly higher rate (73%) than males (71%).
The majority of people participating in the labour force spent all or most of the year in the labour force. Of the persons who were in the labour force at some time during the year, 71% spent the whole year in the labour force and 16% spent 39 to 51 weeks in the labour force.
PERSONS WHO WORKED AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR
There were 10,198,000 persons who worked at some time during the year ending February 2003. Of these, 5,561,200 (55%) were male and 4,636,900 (45%) were female. Some 70% of these males worked for the entire 52 weeks, compared to 62% of females.
The proportion of males who worked at some time during the year (81%) has remained relatively stable since 1993. The proportion of females who worked at some time has steadily risen throughout that period from 60% in 1993 to 68% in 2003.
Of those persons who worked at some time during the year ending February 2003:
PERSONS WHO LOOKED FOR WORK AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR
During the year ending February 2003, 937,800 males and 773,600 females spent some time looking for work.
The proportion of males who looked for work at some time during the year has steadily decreased, from 20% in 1993 to 14% in February 2003. Similarly, the proportion of females has decreased from 14% in 1993 to 11% for the 12 months ending February 2003.
Of the 1,711,400 persons who looked for work at some time during the year ending February 2003:
Two-thirds (67%) of persons looking for work during the year had also worked during the year. This proportion has not changed since 2001.
PERSONS WHO WERE NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE AT SOME TIME DURING THE YEAR
There were 6,136,300 persons who were not in the labour force at some time during the year ending February 2003. Of these, 2,472,700 were male and 3,663,600 were female. Almost half (49%) of the people in this group spent no time in the labour force during the year.
The main activities while not in the labour force most commonly reported by males were 'holiday, travel, or leisure activities' (26%), 'attended an educational institution' (25%), and 'retired or voluntarily inactive' (20%). For females, the most commonly reported main activities were 'home duties or child care' (47%) and 'attended an educational institution' (17%).
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