OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

Faces of joblessness in Australia

An anatomy of employment barriers using household data

Although Australia’s labour market escaped the dramatic negative impact of the global financial economic crisis seen in other OECD countries, a substantial share of working-age Australians either did were not working or worked only to a limited extent as the global recovery gathered pace between 2013 and 2014. The paper extends a method proposed by Fernandez et al. (2016) to measure and visualise employment barriers of individuals with no or weak labour-market attachment, using household micro-data.

The most common employment obstacles in Australia are limited work experience, low skills and poor health. A notable finding is that almost one third of jobless or low-intensity workers face three or more simultaneous barriers, highlighting the limits of policy approaches that focus on subsets of these employment obstacles in isolation. A statistical clustering approach points to seven distinct groups, each characterized by unique profiles of employment barriers that call for different configurations of activation and employment-support policies.


JEL: J8: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International; J2: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor; H31: Public Economics / Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents / Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household; C38: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables / Classification Methods; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Models; J6: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
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