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3.2 Average Durations

Details of the average number of quarters spent in each benefit category, along with standard deviations, are given in Table 3, using the expressions given in subsection 2.1 above.[9] The largest increases are for: the DPB categories 18_nc_no (from 18.98 to 22.15 quarters) and 30_nc_no, that is those with no dependent children and no earnings and; IB categories 18_no and 30_no, that is, those without earnings. Smaller increases were found for UB recipients in the same age and employment groups, that is categories 18_no and 30_no. The average duration for those in UB category 60_no actually fell from 6.07 to 4.45 quarters after the GFC, reflecting a higher propensity to move into the corresponding SB category. Reductions in average durations therefore do not necessarily mean that individuals are moving off benefits more quickly, since they may simply be moving to other benefit categories. They may also not result in drops in numbers of benefit to the extent that there is an increase in inflows at the same point.

In judging the changes in average durations it should be remembered that the time units are quarters, so that the change from 19 to 22 (for DPB18_nc_no actually translates to a change of 36 weeks. Another feature of the durations reported in Table 3 is that the standard deviation for the DPB and IB categories mentioned above, for which the increases in average durations are largest and those average durations are themselves high, are much larger than for other benefit types at over 4 quarters.

Table 3 - Time Spent in Each Benefit Category: Quarters
Pre-GFC Post-GFC
States Average SD Average SD
DPB18_0_e 3.03 1.42 2.61 1.27
DPB18_0_f 1.14 0.38 1.16 0.40
DPB18_0_no 5.67 2.16 4.39 1.84
DPB18_5+_no 4.45 1.86 3.68 1.64
DPB18_5+_wrk 3.19 1.48 2.70 1.30
DPB18_nc_no 18.98 4.24 22.15 4.60
DPB18_nc_wrk 4.90 1.98 4.43 1.85
DPB30_0_e 3.12 1.46 2.67 1.29
DPB30_0_f 1.21 0.46 1.17 0.41
DPB30_0_no 4.80 1.95 3.77 1.66
DPB30_14_e 4.62 1.90 3.63 1.62
DPB30_14_f 1.33 0.57 1.28 0.53
DPB30_14_no 6.39 2.32 4.74 1.93
DPB30_5_e 3.93 1.71 3.15 1.47
DPB30_5_f 1.26 0.51 1.25 0.50
DPB30_5_no 5.07 2.02 3.91 1.71
DPB30_nc_e 6.81 2.41 6.27 2.30
DPB30_nc_f 1.31 0.55 1.43 0.65
DPB30_nc_no 13.42 3.52 21.30 4.51
DPB60_no 8.24 2.69 9.08 2.84
DPB60_wrk 6.54 2.35 6.12 2.26
IB18_e 5.53 2.13 5.22 2.05
IB18_f 1.20 0.45 1.21 0.46
IB18_no 13.85 3.58 17.19 4.02
IB30_e 7.21 2.49 6.48 2.34
IB30_f 1.23 0.48 1.25 0.50
IB30_no 21.60 4.54 24.59 4.86
IB60_no 14.72 3.70 16.26 3.91
IB60_wrk 7.19 2.49 6.27 2.29
SB18_e 2.10 1.05 2.08 1.04
SB18_f 1.14 0.38 1.14 0.38
SB18_no 3.04 1.43 3.47 1.57
SB30_e 3.45 1.57 3.31 1.52
SB30_f 1.25 0.50 1.24 0.49
SB30_no 5.44 2.11 6.24 2.29
SB60_no 5.38 2.09 6.03 2.24
SB60_wrk 4.25 1.80 3.93 1.71
u18 3.28 1.51 3.46 1.57
UB18_e 1.44 0.67 1.59 0.77
UB18_f 1.08 0.28 1.06 0.25
UB18_no 1.87 0.93 2.26 1.12
UB30_e 2.09 1.04 2.29 1.13
UB30_f 1.16 0.40 1.13 0.36
UB30_no 2.70 1.31 3.34 1.53
UB60_no 6.07 2.25 4.45 1.86
UB60_wrk 4.18 1.78 3.14 1.46
Misc 3.92 1.71 4.07 1.75

Notes

  • [9]It is perhaps worth stressing that the standard deviations relate to the duration distributions; they are not standard errors of the estimated average durations.
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