6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, February 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/08/2009   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Labour Force Experience Survey that was conducted throughout Australia in February 2009 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the LFS who were in scope of the supplementary survey were asked further questions.

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing, relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.


3 The conceptual framework used in Australia's LFS aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).


4 The scope of the LFS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over and excludes:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

5 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.

6 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded people living in Indigenous communities in very remote parts of Australia. Visitors to private dwellings are also excluded from this survey.


7 The estimates in this publication relate to people covered by the survey in February 2009. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


8 Supplementary surveys are not conducted on the full LFS sample. Since August 1994 the sample for supplementary surveys has been restricted to no more than seven-eighths of the LFS sample.

9 The LFS sample size in February 2009 was approximately one-third smaller than the sample size in February 2007. This is due to an 11% sample reduction that was implemented from November 2007 to June 2008 based on the 2006 sample design, and an additional 24% sample reduction implemented in July 2008. The reduced sample will still be representative, with selections made across all parts of Australia. More information is provided in Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, Nov 2007 (Second edition) (cat. no. 6269.0).

10 The initial sample for the February 2009 LFS consisted of 27,549 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 22,286 private dwelling households and special dwelling units that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. households selected in the survey which had no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 21,253 or 95.4%, were fully responding to the Labour Force Experience Survey. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private dwellings and special dwelling units (after taking into account scope, coverage and sub-sampling exclusions) was 35,634.


11 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:
  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For more information see the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.


12 The estimates are based on information collected in the survey month, and, due to seasonal factors, may not be representative of other months of the year.


13 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0).

14 Occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classifications of Occupations, First Edition, 2006 (cat.no. 1220.0).

15 Industry data are classified according to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat.no. 1292.0).


16 Revisions are made to population benchmarks for the LFS after each five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The last such revision was made in February 2009 to take account of the results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2009 are therefore based on these 2006 population benchmarks.

17 The scope of the Labour Force Experience Survey was expanded in February 2007 to include all people aged 15 years and over. In this issue, Tables 1 and 5 have been revised to present the new time series for people 15 years and over for 2007 and 2009. Tables 9, 10 and 11 of this issue continue the time series for persons aged 15-69 years.

18 Prior to February 2009, the data item 'Main activity when not in the Labour Force' included the category 'home duties or child care'. From February 2009, this category has been split into two separate categories; 'home duties' and 'caring for children'.

19 Prior to February 2009, the data item 'Main activity when not in the Labour Force' included the categories 'own illness or injury' and 'own disability or handicap'. From February 2009, these categories have been collected as 'own short-term illness or injury' and 'own long-term health condition or disability' respectively. While the way the interviewers were instructed to code the responses to the relevant categories did not conceptually change, the renaming has caused a break in time series. Users need to exercise caution when comparing estimates from 2009 with previous years' data. The following table shows a comparison of the renamed categories between 2007 and 2009.

All Persons, Main activity when not in the Labour Force - 2007 and 2009


Main activity when not in the Labour force
Own short-term illness or injury
Own illness or injury
Own long-term health condition or disability
Own disability or handicap


20 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of this supplementary survey and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the LFS.


21 Results of similar surveys, conducted in February 1969, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, annually from February 1979 to February 1989, annually from March 1990 to March 1994, and in February 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 have been given in previous issues of the publication Labour Force Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0) and the Standard Data Service Labour Force Experience on Hardcopy, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0.40.001).


22 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in February 2011.


23 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


24 ABS publications which may also be of interest include:
25 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the Statistics page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.