Source: The Australian, Friday, November 8, 1994, p.1
By TOM DUSEVIC and FIONA CARRUTHERS YOUNG people living with jobless sole parents were twice as likely to be unemployed as youths living in traditional families, a study says. The report Focus on Families: Education and Employment, prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and issued yesterday, shows that people living in nuclear families are more successful in obtaining employment and education. The study also pinpoints those people who are the most disadvantaged in getting work and formal qualifications. Single parents and their chil- dren, rural families, indigenous Australians and families with parents born in non-English- speaking countries were at highest risk. The ABS found the unemployment rate for young people (aged 15 to 24) living with both parents was 20 per cent, compared with 36 per cent for those with no employed parent in the household, and 43 per cent with a sole, unemployed parent. "The employment circumstances of parents have an effect on the economic and social well-being of their children," the report says. "Not only does paid work increase the amount of discretionary income available to families, but also the capacity of children to participate in employment in future years." Dependent children in one- parent families were less likely to have a working parent than children in traditional arrangements. Almost two in three children aged 14 and under in sole-parent families lived with a parent who was either unemployed or not in the job hunt. The Lalor family from Claymore, in Sydney's south- west, has three unemployed mem- bers. Ms Isabell Lalor, 57, has watched two of her children, Adrian, 19, and Mary, 21, try to find work for the past few years. While Adrian scored well enough at school to enter a university and Mary has completed a string of short courses in computers, office management and childcare, neither can secure a full-time job. "Mary has done all the courses, she's been looking for work since she left school when she was 18," said Ms Lalor, who did not work while the Continued-Page 2 Kate Legge-Page 15 Home but not alone jobless families children were growing up and is now on the disability pension. "We live in housing commission. I would say the children have always been disadvantaged, but they did go to good schools. The kids can't understand why they cannot find a job, they go to so many interviews without success that they just get sick of it." The family survives on aid and budgetary advice from the Anglican Home Mission Society. Mary said she had never considered the issue of whether her jobless status was linked to family life. "I have difficulty finding a job because they always demand so many qualifications. There are people who have been studying for 12 months going for bar jobs," she said. The ABS notes there is considerable variation within so- called "couple families" and goes on to say that "the support that spouses are able to provide each other and the potential for two partners or parents to enter into paid work may have a positive effect on the education and employment experiences of couples and children in these families". Young people living with both parents were more likely to receive help to look for work from their parents than those living with one parent. "Parents who are not working are less able to offer the support of recent labour market experience to their children who are looking for work," the study says.
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Representation
Main Index - Numeracy in the News