6296.0 - Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2002   
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February 27, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
New ABS measures of labour underutilisation

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released two new measures of labour underutilisation. In conjunction with existing unemployment statistics, these new measures provide a broader view of labour underutilisation. The Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (Cat. No. 6296.0) describes the measures in detail.

The new measures of labour underutilisation include a wider group of people than the unemployed, such as part-time workers who are willing and available to work more hours (i.e. the underemployed), and people who are available for work but have stopped looking for work because they have become discouraged. The new measures have been developed in consultation with users of the data and should assist analysis of labour market developments.

While noting the importance of the new measures, the Australian Statistician said, "the unemployment rate will continue to be the 'headline' indicator. However, the headline rate does not tell the whole story, and for that reason the ABS is releasing these new supplementary measures."

The two new measures are available on an annual basis and will be included in publications from mid-2002 onwards. Existing measures of unemployment, including the unemployment rate, will continue to be produced monthly.

The paper also describes the wide range of data provided by the ABS on available labour resources and the extent of labour utilisation. This includes data on people who are underemployed and those with a marginal attachment to the labour force.

The Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (cat. no. 6296.0) is available in all ABS bookshops. The information paper is available on this site.