The Australian labour market in 2002
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The Australian labour market continues to demonstrate resilience in the face of weaknesses in the international economy and domestic economy. The US economy remains in the doldrums and Japan still remains in recession. Locally, a severe drought has wiped at least one per cent off projected GDP growth. Yet, for the 10th successive year, jobs growth remains strong in Australia. Despite this record, employers and the Federal government continue to call for further reforms in order to ‘free’ up the labour market. With the profits share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at historic highs and trade union density at historic lows, the arguments are distinctly hollow. Indeed, there remains a considerable unfinished reform agenda for the Australian labour market. A decade of strong jobs growth has made only modest inroads into labour under-utilisation, it has seen unfettered working time developments, and important issues remain of equality and access to entitlements that confront many women workers.
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The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 45, No. 2, June 2003, by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. Copyright © 2003 by IRSA
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