AUSTRALIANS are dropping out of the workforce at unprecedented rates. Since the end of 2010, Bureau of Statistics figures show, two-thirds of the growth in the adult population has been among people who are neither employed nor unemployed, just sitting on the sidelines.
New jobs figures yesterday show that in the past 18 months, the adult population grew by 341,000. But on the bureau's preferred trend measure, only 104,000 jobs were created - and only 14,000 more people became unemployed.
Rather, 222,000 people joined the sidelines: neither in work nor looking for it. Most are male. Most live in New South Wales, Queensland or Victoria.
Some are older people moving into retirement. Some are students who in better times might have sought a part-time job. But most appear to be people of mainstream working age.
Yesterday's jobs figures delivered a correction after three months of solid jobs growth. In seasonally adjusted terms, the Bureau of Statistics estimates that Australia lost 27,000 jobs in June, wiping out the gains of May.
Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au