Context statement: Indicator reflecting a person’s resource base as having a job helps protect the household from poverty, and is a major contributor to personal wellbeing.
Since the late 1970s, when the current Labour Force series began, the employment rate has shown an upward trend, associated with rises in female labour force participation, while the male participation rate has been slowly declining. However, over this time, there were several economic downturns (the early 1980s and 1990s recessions, the 2008–09 global financial crisis (GFC) and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in falls in the employment rate (ABS 2021).
Between 1978 and July 2021, the seasonally adjusted employment rate for people aged 15–64:
- fell from 73% in 2008 to 72% for most of 2009 through to early 2017
- increased to 74% in 2018 and remained at this level until March 2020
- decreased to 70% in May 2020 (lowest level since 2004)
- gradually increased to a record high of 76% in June and July 2021.
Since the current series of employment data collection began in the late 1970s, those aged 15–24 and 55–64 have consistently had lower employment rates than those aged 25–54. This is due to those in younger and older age groups transitioning into and out of work.
In May 2021, those aged 15–24 had the:
For further information see Employment and unemployment.
For international comparisons, see International comparisons of welfare data.
Reference: ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2021. Labour force, Australia; Reference period: July 2021. Canberra: ABS.