The Australian Labour Market in 2004

Steven Barrett, John Burgess, Iain Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The Australian labour market over 2004 once again recorded strong employment growth and a decline in the official unemployment rate. However, the distribution of jobs and labour market conditions remain uneven across Australia. There remains a large number of underemployed and hidden unemployed. Full-time weekly working hours continue to expand, much of them taking the form of unpaid overtime. Australia has one of the longest full-time working hours per week across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. After the 2004 election, industrial relations ‘reforms’ have been prominent in discussions of the post-election legislative agenda. However, it is difficult to see how these proposed reforms will address fundamental labour market problems (such as skills shortages) and generate additional jobs or increased productivity. The only consequences are likely to be more pressure on the living standards of the low paid and those dependent on awards and safety net wage increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-150
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


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