6226.0 - Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia, Feb 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/07/2019   
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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Underemployment, 1962 vs 2019

SIX STATE CAPITAL CITIES

The ABS has been keeping an eye on underemployment since the very earliest Labour Force Surveys in the 1960s. The following table from Chapter 29 - Employment and Unemployment (p. 1192) of the Year Book, Australia, 1967 (cat. no. 1301.0) shows measures of underemployment for the six state capital cities for the period November 1962 to November 1966.

The term underemployed was not yet used, but the category "Lack of work" closely resembles how we measure underemployment today.

  • In November 1962, only 17.7% of the labour force in the capital cities worked part-time hours, compared to 37.4% in February 2019.
  • 1.1% of the labour force in the state capital cities were underemployed in November 1962 (5.9% of those who worked part-time hours). In February 2019, 7.9% of the labour force in the capital cities was underemployed (21.2% of those who worked part-time hours).
  • The unemployment rate of the state capital cities in November 1962 was 1.6%. Combined with the 1.1% underemployment rate, underutilisation was 2.7% in 1962. Underutilisation of the capital cities in February 2019 was 13.0% (with a 5.1% unemployment rate).


Graph 1: Reason why full-time workers in capital cities only worked part-time hours
Bar chart shows little differene between underemployed full-time workers in the 1960s vs 2010s

Graph 2: Reason why workers in capital cities worked part-time hours
Bar chart shows big increase in part-time workes and underemployed from the 1960s to 2010s


Table 1: 1962 to 1965

EMPLOYED CIVILIANS WHO WORKED LESS THAN 35 HOURS A
WEEK, BY REASON: NOVEMBER 1962 TO 1966
Six Australian State Capital Cities
November⁠—
Reason for working less than 35 hours a week
Persons who usually
work 35 hours or more a
week
Persons who usually
work less than 35 hours
a week
All persons who worked
less than 35 hours in the
survey period
Lack of
work
(a)
Other
reasons
(b)
Total
Lack of
work
(c)
Other
reasons
(d)
Total
Lack of
work
(a)(c)
Other
reasons
(b)(d)
Total
Number ('000)—
1962 (e)
14.7
228.3
243.0
12.2
197.4
209.6
26.9
425.7
452.6
1963 (e)
12.4
229.9
242.2
7.6
213.1
220.7
20.0
443.0
463.0
1964 (e)
10.7
226.5
237.2
7.3
230.5
237.8
18.0
457.0
475.0
1965 (e)
17.2
238.8
256.0
7.8
258.1
265.8
25.0
496.8
521.8
1966 (f)
17.5
239.0
256.5
6.5
279.0
285.5
24.0
518.0
542.0
Proportion of the civilian work force of the six capitals (per cent)—
1962 (e)
0.6
8.9
9.5
0.5
7.7
8.2
1.1
16.6
17.7
1963 (e)
0.5
8.8
9.3
0.3
8.2
8.5
0.8
17.0
17.8
1964 (e)
0.4
8.5
8.9
0.3
8.6
8.9
0.7
17.1
17.8
1965 (e)
0.6
8.6
9.2
0.3
9.3
9.6
0.9
17.9
18.8
1966 (f)
0.6
8.3
8.9
0.2
9.7
9.9
0.8
18.1
18.9
(a) Excludes persons laid off for whole week without pay, who are included in the unemployed. The figures comprise persons working short time, those who lost their jobs or commenced in new jobs during the specified week, and those absent from work because of plant breakdowns or bad weather.
(b) Own illness or injury, leave or holiday, and industrial disputes.
(c) Persons who would prefer to work 35 hours or more a week if suitable work were available.
(d) Persons who prefer to work less than 35 hours a week.
(e) Persons aged 14 years and over.
(f) Persons aged 15 years and over.


Table 2: 2015 to 2019

EMPLOYED PERSONS (f) WHO WORKED LESS THAN 35 HOURS A
WEEK, BY REASON: FEBRUARY 2015 TO 2019
Six Australian State Capital Cities
February—
Reason for working less than 35 hours a week
Persons who usually
work 35 hours or more a
week
Persons who usually
work less than 35 hours
a week
All persons who worked
less than 35 hours in the
survey period
Lack of
work
(a)
Under- employed
(a')
Other
reasons
(b')
Total
Lack of
work
(c)
Under- employed
(c')
Other
reasons
(d')
Total
Lack of
work
(a)(c)
Under-
employed
(a')(c')
Other
reasons
(b')(d')
Total
Number ('000)—
2015
59.0
43.9
667.4
711.3
651.1
602.2
1,718.0
2,320.2
710.1
646.1
2,385.4
3,031.4
2016
70.6
51.0
652.4
703.3
682.2
636.9
1,775.1
2,412.0
752.8
687.8
2,427.5
3,115.3
2017
77.8
54.0
716.9
771.0
699.6
658.6
1,804.5
2,463.1
777.4
712.6
2.521.5
3,234.1
2018
77.0
56.4
714.1
770.5
717.6
666.8
1,874.3
2,541.1
794.5
723.2
2,588.4
3,311.6
2019
77.8
57.6
722.8
780.3
710.6
657.4
1,929.8
2,587.2
788.4
715.0
2,652.5
3,367.5
Proportion of the labour force of the six capitals (per cent)—
2015
0.7
0.5
8.2
8.7
8.0
7.4
21.0
28.4
8.7
7.9
29.2
37.1
2016
0.8
0.6
7.8
8.4
8.1
7.6
21.2
28.8
9.0
8.2
29.0
37.2
2017
0.9
0.6
8.4
9.0
8.2
7.7
21.2
28.9
9.1
8.4
29.6
37.9
2018
0.9
0.6
8.1
8.8
8.2
7.6
21.3
28.9
9.0
8.2
29.4
37.7
2019
0.9
0.6
8.0
8.7
7.9
7.3
21.4
28.8
8.8
7.9
29.5
37.4
(a) The figures comprise persons working short time, those who lost their jobs or commenced in new jobs during the specified week, and those absent from work because of plant breakdowns or bad weather. These are included for comparison with the 'Lack of Work' figures from 1962-65.
(a') Worked less than 35 hours for economic reasons (stood down, no work or not enough work available). These are the underemployed figures for full-time workers.
(b') Worked less than 35 hours for non-economic reasons (own illness or injury, leave or holiday, and industrial disputes, etc).
(c) Persons who would prefer to work 35 hours or more a week if suitable work were available. These are included for comparison with the 'Lack of Work' figures from 1962-65.
(c') Persons who would prefer and were available to work 35 hours or more a week if suitable work were available. These are the underemployed figures for part-time workers.
(d') Persons who prefer to work less than 35 hours a week or were unavailable to work more hours.
(f) Persons aged 15 years and over.


FURTHER INFORMATION

For more information on these on any other labour statistics, contact the ABS Labour Statistics branch via labour.statistics@abs.gov.au.