1370.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/10/2011   
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Graph Image for Unemployment rate(a)

Paid work is the way in which most people obtain the economic resources they need for day-to-day living. Having paid work contributes to a person's sense of identity and self-esteem, while people's involvement in paid work also contributes to economic growth and development.

The unemployment rate is relevant to both the economic and social aspects of work. The unemployment rate is the most widely used measure of under utilised labour resources in the economy and is sensitive to changes in economic conditions. Generally, in recent decades, the unemployment rate has tended to rise quickly during economic downturns and fall slowly during periods of economic recovery. Unemployment can also have negative consequences upon the financial and psychological wellbeing of both individuals affected and their families.

For most of the last decade, the unemployment rate declined as a result of Australia's strong economic growth from a high of 6.8% in 2001 to a low of 4.2% in 2008. In the wake of the recent global financial crisis, the unemployment rate rose to 5.6% in 2009 before declining to 5.2% in 2010.

For a more in-depth discussion about how work relates to progress and whether it is improving in Australia, please see the Work chapter in Measures of Australia’s Progress, 2010 (cat. no. 1370.0).


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