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The Forum > Article Comments > Time to look beyond the unemployment statistics > Comments

Time to look beyond the unemployment statistics : Comments

By Andrew Leigh, published 27/9/2005

Andrew Leigh argues the statistics hide the unemployment reality for unskilled workers.

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Andrew makes a good point that official unemployment statistics do not tell the full story. I agree that in some ways, it's better to examine figures relating to the proportion of adults WITHOUT full time employment than the proportion registered as actively looking for it - although not necessarily for the reasons Andrew puts forward. In accordance with international standards, the definition used by the Australian Government when it reports 'unemployment' levels is the proportion of adults who are employed *less than the equivalent of one full day per fortnight*. This is hardly enough work to provide sufficient income to support one person, let alone a family. Thus the official unemployment statistics hide a huge number of UNDERemployed Australians.

However, simplistically considering the proportion of adults in full-time employment similarly fails to reveal the whole story. Not all adults want or need to be in full time, paid employment. Many prefer raising children at home, while others form an integral part of our society through their volunteer work. The percentage of adults with full time jobs may be a significant factor when considering unemployment levels, but it should not be used, as Andrew has done, as the sole figure measured.
Posted by Michelle 1066, Wednesday, 28 September 2005 2:05:19 PM
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