The unemployment rate for overseas born in general rose from about 2% in 1973 to about 6% in 1979, peaked at over 11% in 1983 and then declined to just under 9% in 1987. In general, the trend followed that of the overall Australian unemployment rate, but at 1 - 3% higher rates.
In 1987 there were over 1600 Maltese-born unemployed in Australia or 2.8%, of the total Maltese-born and 5% of the total work force. The proportion unemployed for less than 6 months was 35% and much less than the average for Australian (49%) or European born (44%). However, the proportion unemployed for 24 months or more was 29% for Maltese-born compared to 18% for Australian and 21% for European born.
The age distribution of unemployed shows that compared to Australian or European born there were relatively less under the age of 24 years (10%) compared to Australian (30%) or European born (12%). However, the proportion of unemployed Maltese aged 35 years and older was 68% which was much higher than the corresponding Australian (24%) or European born (54%).
The number of Maltese-born persons registered with the Commonweath Employment Service (CES) in 1984 was 10,945, of whom over 7000 were in Victoria and nearly 3500 were in NSW It is of interest to note that in some districts (St Albans, Victoria), the number of Maltese formed up to 12% of the total overseas-born unemployed persons.
Unemployment statistics do not give us the full picture relating to the pattern of work-related activities of Maltese persons. The recently published OMA survey (1989) highlights the fact that the proportion of Maltese working full-time or part-time was only 46%, compared to 63% of the general sample and 64% of NESB persons. The main other difference is the relatively large proportion of Maltese described as 'keeping house" which was 26% for Maltese, 11% for the general sample and the sample of NESB persons.
Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990