6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, September 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2013   
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7 March 2013
Embargoed: 11.30 am Canberra Time
100,000 Discouraged Job Seekers

In September 2012, there were 106,600 discouraged job seekers, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report released today. These are people who wanted to work and were available to start within the next four weeks if offered a job, but were not actively looking for a job because they believed they would not find one.

ABS Director of Labour Force, Cassandra Gligora said, "the number of discouraged job seekers increased 18 per cent from 90,700 in 2011, and is a return to the numbers prior to 2011. The increase was mostly driven by a rise in the number of male discouraged job seekers - up 31 per cent from 2011.

"Discouraged job seekers reported that their main reason for not looking for work was that they believed they were considered too old by employers (36 per cent) or that there were no jobs in their locality or line of work (20 per cent)," Ms Gligora said.

"These discouraged job seekers were part of the 833,700 people who were not in the labour force, who wanted work and were available to start work within four weeks, but were not actively looking for work. Of the 727,200 who were not discouraged job seekers, the most commonly reported reasons for men not actively looking for work were studying (35 per cent) and own long-term health condition or disability (15 per cent), while for women it was caring for children (31 per cent) and studying (19 per cent).

In total there were just over six million people, or a third of Australians aged 15 years and over, not in the labour force in September 2012. Just under 1.3 million (21 per cent) of them wanted to work.

The main activity for those not in the labour force varied by age. Those aged 15-24 years and not in the labour force were most likely to be studying while those aged 60 years or over were mainly retired. Men aged 35-59 years were most likely to report their main activity as their own long term health condition or disability whereas for women aged 25-59 years it was home duties or caring for children."

Further details can be found in Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, September 2012 (cat. no. 6220.0).

Media notes

  • When reporting on these statistics, attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as the source.
  • Definition 'Not in the labour force' : People not classed as 'employed' or 'unemployed' are considered to be 'not in the labour force'.