A new report shows that living with disability, previous incarceration, being female and low levels of education are the most significant factors associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being out of the labour force.
Nearly four in 10 (39 per cent) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 years were out of the labour force in 2014–15.
New analysis, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in partnership with the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), identified the characteristics associated with an increased likelihood of a person being out of the labour force.
While living with disability and previous incarceration were significant factors associated with being out of the labour force for both sexes, there were other factors that affected only males or only females.
ABS Program Manager for Indigenous and Social Information, Denise Carlton, said: “Being single and having a lack of access to transport were other factors strongly associated with men being out of the labour force.
“For women it was having Year 9 or less education, having dependent children in the family, and not currently studying.”
The proportion of people out of the labour force was highest in very remote areas (51 per cent) and lowest in major cities (33 per cent). However, where a person lived or their age did not increase their likelihood of being out of the labour force when other characteristics were the same.
“For example, someone living in a non-remote area is just as likely to be out of the labour force as a person living in a remote area if they share the same characteristics such as education and disability status.
“More than half (53 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people out of the labour force said they were either permanently unable or not intending to work, did not need to work, or did not want a job,” Ms Carlton said.
Dr Yonatan Dinku, a senior research officer at CAEPR said: “Identifying the factors associated with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people being out of the labour force provides valuable insights for those involved in programs aimed at increasing the labour force participation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people overall.”