1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey that was conducted throughout Australia in September 2004 as a supplement to the 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 From April 2001 the LFS has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional questions and some minor definitional changes. These changes also affect the supplementary surveys. 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).
4 Information for this survey was collected using computer assisted interviewing (CAI), whereby responses are recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer.
5 The change of interviewing method is not expected to have affected the estimates in any meaningful way.
CONCEPTS SOURCES AND METHODS
6 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) which is also available on the ABS web site (Methods, Classifications, Concepts & Standards).
7 The scope of the LFS is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excludes the following persons:
8 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.
- 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).
9 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 persons living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such persons account for over 20% of the population.
10 Persons aged 70 years and over were also excluded from this survey.
11 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in September 2004. 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.
12 The initial sample for the September 2004 LFS consisted of 40,639 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 33,033 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 30,918 or 93.6% were fully responding to the Persons Not in the Labour Force survey. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private dwelling households and special dwelling units (after taking into account scope, coverage and subsampling exclusions) was 12,372.
RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES
13 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.
14 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.
15 Occupation data are classified according to the ASCO - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0).
16 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0).
REVISION TO HISTORICAL DATA
17 Historical estimates of the civilian population for reference periods 1996 to 1999 were revised in the 2000 publication to exclude institutionalised persons, and sparsely settled and remote parts of Australia.
COMPARABILITY OF TIME SERIES
18 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 2004 to take account of the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2004 are therefore based on revised population benchmarks.
19 Supplementary surveys are not always 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. Since it was introduced, this survey has been conducted on various proportional samples and therefore sampling errors associated with previous supplementary surveys may vary from the sampling error for this survey.
20 Persons Not in the Labour Force Surveys conducted up to and including September 1987 included all persons aged 15 years and over. From September 1988, the survey excluded all persons aged 70 years and over.
21 Comparability of 2001 to 2004 estimates with previous years, for persons who wanted to work, including discouraged jobseekers, may have been affected by the following:
- As part of the LFS redesigned questionnaire, implemented in April 2001, persons aged 65 and over can specify that they are permanently not intending to work, and as a result were not asked for details about wanting to work and looking for work in the 2001 to 2004 Persons Not in the Labour Force surveys. It is likely that, if they had answered these questions, some of these persons may have been classified as persons who wanted work, and also as discouraged jobseekers.
- A further change in the redesigned LFS questionnaire is that it more accurately identifies 'future starters'; that is, persons waiting to start, within four weeks of the end of the reference week, a new job that they have already obtained (and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then). Under International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines these persons do not have to be actively looking for work to be classified as unemployed, and therefore are not asked questions related to job search activities. If they had been asked why they were not looking for work, it is possible that some may have given reasons other than 'had a job to go to', and as a result could have been classified as wanting to work, and also as discouraged jobseekers.
- From 2001 to 2003, future starters were classed as not in the labour force. From February 2004, they are classed as unemployed. The removal of this group has only had a small effect ( 23,240 persons) on persons who wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were available to start work within four weeks.
- Persons who are permanently unable to work have been classified as a separate group within Persons Not in the Labour Force Surveys for many years. In the 2004 survey, the number of people in this group was lower than in 2003 (174,400 and 199,970 respectively).
COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS
22 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.
23 The difference between the estimates appearing in this publication and Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) is chiefly the result of excluding persons aged 70 years and over from the sample of this supplementary survey. Over one-quarter (29%) of the civilian population aged 15 years and over who were not in the labour force were excluded from answering questions from this supplementary survey because they were aged 70 years and over.
24 Core LFS series from April 1986 to March 2001 have been revised on the basis of the redesigned LFS questionnaire. Supplementary survey data have not been revised.
25 Further information on persons not in the labour force is available in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). Note that such information refers to all persons aged 15 years and over.
26 The Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey was first conducted in May 1975 and again in May 1977. From 1979 to 1987 the survey was collected twice a year (March and September). Since then it has been conducted annually. Results of previous surveys were published in:
- Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, (cat. no. 6220.0)
- standard data service Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, (cat. no. 6220.0.40.001) for 1994 and 1995 (available in hardcopy only).
27 The ABS will conduct this survey again in September 2005.
28 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.
29 ABS publications which may be of interest include:
30 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.
- Australian Labour Market Statistics, (cat. no. 6105.0)
- Job Search Experience, Australia, (cat. no. 6222.0)
- Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001)
- Underemployed Workers, Australia, (cat. no. 6265.0)
This page last updated 20 June 2006