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1300.1.55.001 - Statistics News NSW, Sep 2008  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/09/2008  Ceased
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In an article in the July issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0), the ABS presented for the first time quarterly estimates of labour underutilisation. This quarterly labour force underutilisation rate (QLFUR) replaces the existing annual rate which was first published in 2002 in Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (cat. no. 6296.0). The new quarterly series has a more conceptually sound basis than the annual rate, and has provided the opportunity to produce more frequent and timely measures of changes in underemployment, and in turn, the underutilisation rate. In Australia, the labour force underutilisation rate is defined as the sum of the number of people unemployed and the number underemployed, expressed as a proportion of the labour force. It can also be viewed as the sum of the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate.

In May 2008 the trend QLFUR for Australia was 10.1%, lower than for May 2001 (13.9%), however, the contributions of the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate to this has changed over time. In May 2001, the trend quarterly unemployment rate and the trend quarterly underemployment rate contributed almost equally to the labour force underutilisation rate (6.8% and 7.1% respectively). Since that time the trend quarterly unemployment rate has fallen more than the trend quarterly underemployment rate (2.7 and 1.1 percentage points respectively) which has resulted in the quarterly underemployment rate assuming a larger proportion of the labour force underutilisation rate over time.

Quarterly measures of labour force underutilisation, Persons: Trend - May 2001 - May 2008
Graph: Graph - Qurterly measures of labour force utilisation, Persons, Trend, May 2001 to May 2008

For further information, please contact Tracey Chester on (02) 6252 5609 or email

Improved family estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS)

While estimates of the labour force characteristics of families have been produced from the LFS since 1979, the survey was not specifically designed to produce high quality family estimates. The ABS is currently undertaking a project to make better use of the data available from the survey, and to implement an improved weighting methodology. Together these changes will deliver improved family estimates which are more in line with estimated resident population (ERP) and other ABS collections. The datacubes containing the improved family estimates are expected to be released in Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families (cat. no. 6224.0.55.001) on 16 October 2008.

For further information, please contact Carmel O'Regan on (02) 6252 6127 or email

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