Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Underemployment and housing insecurity

We were recently discussing unemployment and underemployment, and the awful waste it represents. Not having adequate work also represents a threat to a person's housing, and some new AHURI research puts some numbers on this.



The research focuses on underemployment (that is, where a person is employed less than full-time, and would prefer to work more hours) and notable findings include:
  • Of households comprising a single earner who is underemployed, almost half (48.2 per cent) are in private rental (by contrast, 25.6 per cent of all households are in private rental). Of these households:
    • 28 per cent fell into rent arrears sometime in the previous year (by contrast, 16.8 per cent of adequately employed single earners had been in arrears);
    • 37.1 per cent were 'at risk' of arrears (by contrast, 13.9 per cent of adequately employed single earners were at risk)*;
    • 48.9 per cent had difficulty paying other bills in the previous year (by contrast, 31 per cent of adequately employed single earners had difficulty);
    • and the median rent paid by these households increased in real terms by 14 per cent over the period 2001-2009 (contrast the real increase of 17.5 per cent paid by adequately employed single earners). 
  • Of households comprising multiple earners, at least one of whom is underemployed, 28.3 per cent are in private rental. Of these households:
    •  22.6 per cent fell into rent arrears sometime in the previous year (by contrast, 11.6 per cent of adequately employed multiple earner households had been in arrears);
    • 16.2 per cent were 'at risk' of arrears (by contrast, eight per cent of adequately employed multiple earner households were at risk);
    • 37.9 per cent had difficulty paying other bills in the previous year (by contrast, 22.3 per cent of adequately employed multiple earner households had difficulty);
    • and the median rent paid by these households increased in real terms by an awful 54.7 per cent over the period 2001-2009 (contrast the real increase of 26.48 per cent paid by adequately employed multiple earner households)
The researchers also find that underemployment is 'scarring': the odds of an adequately employed person being 'at risk' of arrears are 1.4 times higher if they were underemployed the previous year.

Turning the numbers around, we also find that of private renter households with members in the labour force (counting together multiple earners and single earners):
  • 76.35 per cent have all members adequately employed;
  • 13.95 per cent have at least one member underemployed;
  • 8.7 per cent have at least one member unemployed.
  

* Assessed 'at risk' because they reported they were paying more than 30 per cent of income in rent, would have 'extreme difficulty in raising $2000-$3000 at a time of need, and described themselves as 'just getting by', 'poor' or 'very poor'. 

1 comment:

  1. Some really scary numbers in there. I love that you are counted employed if you do one hour a week, employed to me means you can live off what you earn (or am i unreasonable?)

    ReplyDelete

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