One in three (33%) Australians aged 15 years and over (5.5 million people) were not in the labour force in September 2008, according to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The majority (61%) of these were women (3.3 million).
Almost one-third (30%) of people not in the labour force were 70 years or over; and 15% were between 15 and 24 years.
For people not in the labour force, most (85% or 4.7 million) did not want to work.
For the 15% (820,300 people) who wanted to work:
* 9% were actively looking for work, but were not available to start work in the previous week
* 91% were not actively looking for work, but were available to start within four weeks