The Australian Labour Market

John Burgess, William Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Australian labour market is at its healthiest condition for over a decade. Strong employment growth since 1993 has led to a systematic decline in the unemployment rate. We review the developments in the Australian labour market over this recovery period, noting the sectoral and spatial dimensions of the additional jobs generated. In addition, we emphasise the continued presence of considerable labour underutilisation, despite the strong employment growth. This period has also seen the continued growing share of non-standard employment arrangements. The review considers whether one of these non-standard employment types, casual employment, has been overstated in the labour force data. Finally, we highlight another striking development over the recovery period, the diminishing public sector employment share and relate it to the failure of the economy to achieve full employment. This is the first annual survey of the Australian labour market to be included in the yearly reviews published by the Journal of Industrial Relations. As such, we are honoured to present this survey and hope that we can establish a benchmark for future reviews of the Australian labour market. By its nature this survey will cover a longer time-period than 1 year as we do not have the previous year's review to reference. We hope to establish a labour market context for industrial relations in the 2000s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-147
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


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