Australia has managed to keep unemployment rates at lower rates than many other countries in the world. Still, unemployment in Australia has been a consistent problem for the Australian economy. With changes in the production patterns in Australia, there was loss of jobs in Australia which lead to lower job opportunities in the country. This increased unemployment in Australia. However extensive efforts have been undertaken in Australia to tackle the issue of unemployment and keep unemployment rates at low levels. Some of the major concern areas related to unemployment in Australia are long term unemployment, youth unemployment and lack of opportunities of employment for older workers.
Different countries follow different concepts for measuring unemployment. Australia, however, follows the globally accepted definition of unemployment. According to this, a person is considered unemployed if the following three conditions are fulfilled –
The person has not undertaken paid work for even one hour in the previous week.
The person is seeking work actively.
The person would be willing to accept a job in the next week if one is available.
According to this definition, people who are not actively looking for a job are not included in the unemployment computation in Australia.
After the World War –II, Australia maintained an unemployment rate of 1% to 2% for about twenty five years. During this period majority of the workers were men and women worked only till their marriage. Since the late 1970s, Australia has experienced average unemployment rates of around 7.5%. After 2003, Australia has been successful in maintaining unemployment rates below 6%. Between the late seventies and 2003, Australia had unemployment rates below 6% only twice - during the late 1980s and in the year 2000.
Unemployment in Australia is not uniform across all groups. People who have higher risk of unemployment in Australia are the youth, the immigrants and the single people. According to estimates of 2005, unemployment among married people was only 3%. On the other hand, unemployment rate of single people was almost four times that of married people. This might be caused by two reasons –
Unemployed people are less likely to get married.Single people have less financial pressure and therefore may be more tolerant towards unemployment.
The youth are the new entrants to the job market. As such it takes them longer time to get settled in a steady job. New entrants to the job market often face spells of short time unemployment in their endeavor to search for a suitable job. In case of unsuccessful job searches, the youth may face long term unemployment.
Another group at high risk of unemployment in Australia is the immigrants. The immigrants are also new entrants to the job market in Australia. Moreover they are not accustomed to the work culture of Australia. Many immigrants also lack requisite skills and fluency in English. This makes it more difficult for them to get a job.
With sincere efforts Australia has managed to keep unemployment rates much below than other OECD countries. Moreover Australia’s current unemployment rate is lower compared to that of the last two decades.