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AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, LABOUR FORCE SURVEY
10 Full-time workers: Employed persons who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working less than 35 hours a week worked 35 hours or more during the reference week.
11 Industry: An industry is a group of businesses or organisations that perform similar sets of activities in terms of the production of goods and services. Industry is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). The industry assigned to an employed person is determined from a description of the kind of business or service carried out at the person's main job.
12 Labour force: For any group, persons who were employed or unemployed, as defined.
13 Labour force status: A classification of the civilian population aged 15 years and over into employed, unemployed or not in the labour force, as defined. The definitions conform closely to the international standard definitions adopted by the International Conferences of Labour Statisticians.
14 Not in labour force: Persons who were not in the categories employed or unemployed as defined.
15 Participation rate: For any group, the labour force expressed as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over in the same group.
16 Part-time workers: Employed persons who usually work less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs) and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work during the reference week.
17 Unemployed: Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the reference week, and:
18 Unemployment rate: For any group, the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force in the same group.
19 The Labour Force Survey was coded according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0). In this product, data are presented for Labour Force Dissemination Regions in NSW for the 2006–07 financial year.
20 The population survey is based on a multi-stage area sample of private dwellings (currently about 30,000 houses, flats, etc.) and a list sample of non-private dwellings (hotels, motel, etc.) and covers about 0.45% of the population of Australia. The information is obtained from the occupants of selected dwellings by specially trained interviewers. The information obtained relates to the week before the interview (i.e. the reference week).
21 The information is collected using computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) whereby responses are recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire on a notebook computer. The CAI method was progressively implemented from October 2003 to August 2004 replacing the 'pen and paper' method previously used.
22 Households selected for the Labour Force Survey are interviewed each month for eight months, with one-eighth of the sample being replaced each month. The first interview is conducted face-to-face. Subsequent interviews are conducted by telephone (if acceptable to the respondent).
23 Data used in this product are original. Original data have not been adjusted. ABS also release seasonally adjusted and trend labour force data at the state, territory and national level. Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the series so that the effects of other influences on the series can be more clearly recognised. Trend data are produced by smoothing seasonally adjusted data, in order to reduce the impact of the irregular component of the seasonally adjusted data. Trend estimates are used to analyse the underlying behaviour of a series over time.
24 Population benchmarks: Labour Force Survey estimates are calculated in such a way as to add up to independent estimates of the civilian population aged 15 years and over (population benchmarks). From February 2004, labour force estimates have been compiled using benchmarks based on the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Revisions were made to historical estimates from January 1999 to January 2004.
25 Effects of rounding: Estimates have been rounded and discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.
26 Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: sampling error and non-sampling error.
27 Sampling error: Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors. Standard errors of other estimates and other movements may be determined by using information in the paper Labour Force Survey Standard Errors (6298.0.55.001) which is available free of charge on the ABS web site.
28 Non-sampling error: Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures. Non-sampling error also arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey. The Labour Force Survey receives a high level of co-operation from individuals in selected dwellings, with the average response rate over the last year being 96%.
29 National surveys were conducted in February, May, August and November each year from 1964 to February 1978. The survey has been conducted on a monthly basis since February 1978.
30 From April 1986, the definition of employed persons was changed to include persons who worked without pay between 1 and 14 hours per week in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers). For further information, see paragraphs 36 and 37 of the Explanatory Notes in the February 1987 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6203.0).
31 The ABS introduced telephone interviewing into the Labour Force Survey in August 1996. Implementation was phased in for each new sample group from August 1996 to February 1997. During the period of implementation, the new method produced different estimates than would have been obtained under the old methodology. The effect dissipated over the final months of implementation and was no longer discernible from February 1997. The estimates for February 1997 and onwards are directly comparable to estimates for periods prior to August 1996. For further details see the feature article in the June 1997 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6203.0).
32 From April 2001 the Labour Force Survey has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional data items and some minor definitional changes. The definition of unemployed persons was changed to include all persons who were waiting to start work and were available to start in the reference week. This change was introduced in February 2004, when historical unit record data were revised from April 2001 to January 2004. This revision created a small trend break at April 2001 in unemployed persons and unemployment rate series. For further details see Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics (cat. no. 6292.0).
33 Core labour force series were revised in April 2001 for the period April 1986 to March 2001 for the remaining definitional changes introduced with the redesigned questionnaire, to reduce the impact of the changes on labour force series. For further details see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (cat. no. 6295.0) and Information Paper: Questionnaires Used in the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6232.0).
34 In May 2007, an improved method of estimation, know as composite estimation, was introduced into the Labour Force Survey. In introducing this change the ABS revised unit record data from April 2001 to April 2007 based on the new estimation method. While estimates for periods prior to April 2001 are unrevised and were compiled using a different estimation method, no trend break was identified in the employed persons series. Also, no change was identified in the trend breaks in the unemployed persons and unemployment rate series which arose with the introduction of a redesigned survey form in April 2001 (as noted above in paragraph 32). For further details, see Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics, 2007 (cat. no. 6292.0), released on 21 May 2007.
35 Estimates from the Labour Force Survey are available in a number of publications. Estimates of Labour Force are published first in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), 31 days after the commencement of interviews for that month, with the exception of estimates for each December which are published 38 days after the commencement of the interviews. More detailed estimates are available in electronic products (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) one week after the release of the first estimates. Users may also wish to refer to Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0). This publication contains additional tables and a detailed list of related publications.
ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
36 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. For further information, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
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