Skip to main content
placeholder image

Youth as a reserve army of labour: Australia’s regional unemployment conundrum

Journal Article


Abstract


  • This article seeks to apply Marx’s Reserve Army of Labour theory to explain youth labour market trends with a case study of the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. Statistical analysis of regional ABS labour force data reveals both persistently high youth unemployment rates as well as dominant cyclical activity. Dominant neoclassical economic theory, which implies that any unemployment observed should be infrequent and quickly solved by market forces, fails to adequately account for our observations. In contrast, our findings are congruent with the reserve army and segmented labour market theories. The article contributes new understandings of Marxist concepts to an important regional issue of contemporary policy relevance.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Burrows, S. & O'Brien, M. J. (2016). Youth as a reserve army of labour: Australia’s regional unemployment conundrum. Labour and Industry: a journal of the social and economic relations of work, 26 (2), 90-102.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/buspapers/1014

Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 90

End Page


  • 102

Volume


  • 26

Issue


  • 2

Abstract


  • This article seeks to apply Marx’s Reserve Army of Labour theory to explain youth labour market trends with a case study of the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. Statistical analysis of regional ABS labour force data reveals both persistently high youth unemployment rates as well as dominant cyclical activity. Dominant neoclassical economic theory, which implies that any unemployment observed should be infrequent and quickly solved by market forces, fails to adequately account for our observations. In contrast, our findings are congruent with the reserve army and segmented labour market theories. The article contributes new understandings of Marxist concepts to an important regional issue of contemporary policy relevance.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Burrows, S. & O'Brien, M. J. (2016). Youth as a reserve army of labour: Australia’s regional unemployment conundrum. Labour and Industry: a journal of the social and economic relations of work, 26 (2), 90-102.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/buspapers/1014

Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 90

End Page


  • 102

Volume


  • 26

Issue


  • 2