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Dark Corners in a Bright Economy; The Lack of Jobs for Unskilled Men

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Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

This paper discusses the large reductions in full-time employment among unskilled Australian males that began in the 1970's and continued over the next three to four decades. Over this period, each recession led to large falls in the male full-time employment-population ratio and during each economic recovery the employment ratio failed to move back to previous levels. Unemployment fell during each output recovery, not in response to employment gains, but in response to large scale withdrawals from the labour market into the welfare system. The loss of unskilled jobs for men has been associated with falling marriage rates and increasing use of the welfare system by single women. The paper concludes by briefly assessing some of the impacts of the new resource boom on these long run labour market and welfare trends and discusses the potential for different labour market outcomes emerging across mineral and non-mineral states.

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