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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1818

Senator BLACK —Will the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations indicate what the unemployment rate currently is among 15- to 19-year-olds? Is it true that this rate is worse now than it was when the Hawke Government assumed office in 1983?

Senator WALSH —In relation to the last part of the question, it is certainly not true that the rate of unemployment among 15- to 19-year-olds is higher now than it was four years ago. I do not seem to have the precise figures, but I think the unemployment rate in that age group is higher than anybody would like to see it. But from memory, I believe, it has fallen about 4 per cent between March of 1983 and the present figure. In June of 1983 the rate peaked at something like 25.7 per cent. However, that figure is subject to confirmation. So there has been, as with unemployment generally, a significant fall in the unemployment rate in the last four years.

The other point which Senator Ryan mentioned yesterday or the day before, which I think is important enough to repeat, is that that figure refers to the 15- to 19-year-olds who are counted as being in the labour force-that is, either employed or available for employment. Therefore, the figure obviously excludes all of those people who are still at school or who, for some other reason, are not in the labour force. I think at present the figure is something just under 20 per cent-not 20 per cent of all people in that 15- to 19-year-old age group but 20 per cent of that proportion of the 15- to 19-year-old age group who are in the labour force either employed or seeking employment.