4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Mar 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/03/2010   
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March 16, 2010 Embargoed 11.30am (Canberra Time) 25/2010
Part-time work cushioned Australia's economic downturn: ABS

Growth in part-time work helped offset full-time job losses during the global financial crisis, but younger workers were more affected than the rest of Australia's workforce according to the latest Australian Social Trends released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Work and study during the economic downturn

In the year to July 2009, the proportion of people in full-time work fell from 45% to 43%, but this was partially offset by an increase in the number of people working part-time jobs.

The switch from full-time to part-time work buffered the drop in women's full-time employment more than it did for men.

For women, more than half of the fall in full-time jobs were offset by increases in part-time work, while for men part-time work only made up for around one-third of lost full-time jobs, with a greater proportion becoming unemployed.

As with other downturns, the impact was greatest among people under 25, with more than half a million (19%) young people not engaged in either full-time study or full-time work in 2009.

Half (53%) the young people who left school in 2008 without year 12 qualifications were unable to find either full-time work or further study opportunities, double the rate experienced by those who had finished year 12.

Health and socioeconomic disadvantage

In an analysis of the 2007-08 National Health Survey it was found that people from the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of Australia were more than twice as likely to have heart disease, diabetes or a disability. This disadvantaged group were also more than twice as likely to smoke, and had a considerably higher rate of obesity than people in the least disadvantaged areas.

While people in disadvantaged areas were twice as likely to regularly visit a doctor, they were much less likely to have visited a dentist in the last year.

Repeat imprisonment

Australian Social Trends also looks at repeat imprisonment and has found that two in every five prisoners released in the mid 1990s ended up back in jail within ten years.

Teenagers (aged 17-19) had the highest reimprisonment rate, with three in five returning to jail inside ten years compared to one in five older people.

People who served time for burglary or theft had the highest rates of reimprisonment, with over half returning to jail inside ten years.

More details on these topics are available in the March edition of Australian Social Trends, 2009 (cat.no. 4102.0), available for free download from the ABS web site.

Media Note: When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.