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Stylised Facts of the Australian Labour Market

Author

Listed:
  • Guy Debelle

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Troy Swann

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

Abstract

This paper examines some stylised facts of trends in employment and unemployment over the past 30 years. The most noteworthy development has been the rise in the aggregate unemployment rate over that period. The main factor accounting for this rise has been the increase in the unemployment rate for full-time male workers, which in turn has reflected slower employment growth in the industries that employ predominantly male full-time workers. While employment growth for females has been stronger than that for full-time males, it has not been sufficient to offset the rapid rise in the participation rate, resulting in a rise in the female unemployment rate. The paper also compares labour market developments in the 1990s recovery with the 1980s recovery. In line with the trend over the past 20 years, the most noteworthy development is the significantly slower growth in male full-time employment. On the other hand, growth in male part-time employment has been stronger in the 1990s. The similar trend in female unemployment rates in both recoveries reflects different forces: in the 1980s, the female participation rate was rising rapidly but employment growth was also strong, whereas in the 1990s, the participation rate has been relatively flat but employment growth has also been more subdued. Finally, the sectors that were engines of employment growth in the 1980s, particularly the finance and insurance, and retail and wholesale trade sectors, have experienced substantially slower employment growth in the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Guy Debelle & Troy Swann, 1998. "Stylised Facts of the Australian Labour Market," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9804, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9804
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    File URL: http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/1998/pdf/rdp9804.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    2. Paul W. Miller, 1997. "The Burden of Unemployment on Family Units: An Overview," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 30(1), pages 16-30.
    3. M.W. Butlin, 1977. "A Preliminary Annual Database 1900/01 to 1973/74," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp7701, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    6. Gregory, R G, 1991. "Jobs and Gender: A Lego Approach to the Australian Labour Market," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 0(0), pages 20-40, Supplemen.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence F Katz, 1998. "Reflections on US Labour Market Performance," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.), Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Jeff Borland & Steven Kennedy, 1998. "Dimensions, Structure and History of Australian Unemployment," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.), Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market Reserve Bank of Australia.
    3. Robert Dixon, 2002. "A Discussion Of The Appropriate Method For Decomposing Changes Overtime In A Weighted Aggregate Into Its Proximate Determinants And An Application To Male Participation Rate Changes," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 851, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Steven Kennedy & David Hedley, 2003. "A Note on Educational Attainment and Labour Force Participation in Australia," Treasury Working Papers 2003-03, The Treasury, Australian Government, revised Nov 2003.
    5. James Vickery, 1999. "Unemployment and Skills in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp1999-12, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    6. Robert Dixon & John Freebairn & G C Lim, 2004. "An Employment Equation For Australia: 1966-2001," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 892, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment; participation rate; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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