More young women studying full-time due to sluggish labour market


Katherine Feeney has an interesting article in the Brisbane Times today on the decline in labour force participation (i.e. working or actively looking for work) among young women in Brisbane since the financial crisis (Young women out of work):

In State of Australian Cities 2012, released this week by federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, Brisbane has recorded a significant drop in the labour participation rate of females aged 15 to 24 since 2008, qualifying it as a “city of note” alongside the Sunshine Coast and Wollongong.

The report shows the rate at just over 70 per cent, a level well below the 78 per cent mark recorded four years ago and even lower than the results for 2004 and 2000…

…University of Queensland Business School labour force specialist Amanda Roan said the numbers could reflect growth in the amount of young women enrolled in full-time study and training.

It’s true that the percentage of young women studying full-time has increased as the labour force participation rate has declined (see chart above for Qld), but I expect this is largely driven by a decline in employment opportunities for the young and low-skilled since the financial crisis. Ms Roan also correctly points to the downturn in retail trade which I have posted on before (Qld loses 20,000 sales jobs over last 12 months). It’s time to deregulate retail trading hours and reform the Fair Work Act.

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