Huge jobless numbers in Ballarat

Issue 

Huge jobless numbers in Ballarat

By Rachel Evans

BALLARAT — Underemployment could be as high as 34.8% overall and over 50% among youth in this Victorian regional centre, according to a survey by the Ballarat University College and the Brotherhood of St Lawrence. These figures are much higher than official statistics.

The survey covered 601 households (1879 people), more than double the number covered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The independent survey was also conducted over a larger area and didn't include rural areas which could distort the urban results.

The survey defined unemployment differently than the ABS. It included those working two days or less weekly, and work seekers with a working spouse. The ABS defines an unemployed person as "someone who has not worked for one hour or more in paid employment in the week previous to the survey. This person must also be available to start work immediately in the next week, and be actively seeking employment."

In the 15-19 age group, unemployment was found to be 31.5%, and 51.5% if the underemployed were included. Total underutilisation of the workforce was between 28.1% and 34.8%.

The survey highlights the inadequacy of government measures on unemployment, coordinator Dr Norm Barling told Green Left. It also shows that real unemployment levels could be much higher than official figures.