Why is Qld’s participation rate higher than the rest of Australia’s?

Queensland’s labour force participation rate is slightly higher than the national average (see chart below), and historically this has been cited as a reason for a higher unemployment rate than the national average, as I discussed in a post last week. (The participation rate is the ratio of the labour force, i.e. the sum of employed and unemployed persons, to the civilian population aged 15 and over.)

partrate

Queensland’s participation rate is higher than the national average primarily due to much higher labour force participation by young people in Queensland than young people in the rest of Australia (see charts below).

males

females

In large part, this is likely due to Queensland’s lower average school finishing age, which means in Queensland a higher proportion of the 15-19 year old cohort has finished high school compared with 15-19 year old cohorts in other States. I expect Queensland’s participation rate will gradually come closer to the national average as Queensland’s average school finishing age rises as a result of the introduction of a prep year.

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