The present paper uses data from the 1996 Australian Aspects of Literacy survey to examine the effects on labour market outcomes of literacy, numeracy and schooling. The survey includes a range of literacy and numeracy variables that are highly intercorrelated. A ‘general to specific’ approach identifies the most relevant literacy and numeracy variables. Including the others adds little explanatory power. Among males and females separately, approximately half of the total effect of schooling on labour force participation and on unemployment can be attributed to literacy and numeracy (the indirect effect) and approximately half to the direct effect of schooling. There is apparently no indirect effect of labour market experience through literacy and numeracy on participation or unemployment. The direct and total effects of experience are the same. Similarly, the direct and total effects of literacy and numeracy are reasonably similar to each other.