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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2008   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

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 2007 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.


CONCEPTS SOURCES AND METHODS

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).


SCOPE

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

  • 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 approximately 120,000 people living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these people will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such people account for around 23% of the population.


COVERAGE

7 The estimates in this publication relate to people covered by the survey in September 2007. 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.


SAMPLE SIZE

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 initial sample for the September 2007 LFS consisted of 41,694 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 33,915 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 32,106 or 94.7% 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 17,609.


RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES

10 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.


SEASONAL FACTORS

11 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.


CLASSIFICATIONS USED

12 From 2006, occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO-Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0). This new classification replaces the ASCO-Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0). Data classified according to ASCO can be obtained on request.


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



COMPARABILITY OF TIME SERIES

14 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.


15 Persons Not in the Labour Force Surveys conducted up to and including September 1987 included all people aged 15 years and over. From September 1988 to September 2004, the survey excluded all people aged 70 years and over.


16 The scope of the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey was expanded in September 2005 to include all people aged 15 years and over. This change resulted in about 1.6 million extra people coming within the scope of this survey. Users need to exercise caution when comparing the estimates prior to 2005 with subsequent years. Direct comparisons should only be made where the populations are the same.


17 From September 2006 estimates of the number of people not in the labour force because they were caring for children, include people whose youngest child was aged 12 years and under. Previously questions relating to the care of children were only asked of people with children aged 11 years and under. This change was made to ensure consistency with other ABS surveys. Users need to exercise care when comparing the estimates in Table 9 of this publication with publications prior to September 2006.


18 Following a review of the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey, a number of changes were implemented in the 2007 cycle. Users need to exercise caution when comparing estimates from 2007 with previous years data. The changes are documented below.


19 Between September 2001 and September 2006 people who reported in the LFS that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were not asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work in the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey. As such, these people were classified as 'Did not want to work'. It is likely, however, that if they had been asked these questions, then some of these people may have been classified differently and may have been included in one of the 'wanted to work' categories. From September 2007, people who specified that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work. As a result of this change, there has been a break in time series. Users need to exercise caution when comparing estimates from 2007 with previous years data. The table below shows how these people were classified in 2007 compared with how they would have been classified between 2001 and 2006.

CIVILIAN POPULATION AGED 15 YEARS AND OVER, Persons not in the labour force status - comparison of key estimates based on current and previous survey procedures

Difference
2007 Published
2007 Previous classification
'000
'000
'000
%

Persons not in the labour force
5 492.0
5 492.0
-
-
With marginal attachment to the labour force
845.4
787.1
58.3
7.4
Wanted to work and were actively looking for work
67.1
67.1
-
-
Were available to start work within four weeks
45.4
45.4
-
-
Were not available to start work within four weeks
21.7
21.7
-
-
Wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were available to start
work within four weeks
778.4
720.0
58.3
8.1
Discouraged job seekers
76.6
55.6
21.1
37.9
Other
701.7
664.5
37.3
5.6
Without marginal attachment to the labour force
4 646.5
4 704.9
-58.3
-1.2
Wanted to work but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start
work within four weeks
343.3
330.0
13.3
4.0
Did not want to work
4 007.0
4 078.7
-71.6
-1.8
Permanently unable to work
296.2
296.2
-
-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)


20 Prior to September 2007, the data items 'All reasons for not actively looking for work', 'Main reason for not actively looking for work' and 'Main reason not available to start work within four weeks' included the category 'own ill health, physical disability or pregnancy'. From September 2007, this category has been split into three separate categories; 'own short-term illness or injury', 'own long-term health condition or disability' and 'pregnancy'.


21 Prior to September 2007, the data items 'Reason for ceasing last job' and 'Main activity when not in the labour force' included the categories 'own ill-health or injury' and 'own disability or handicap'. From September 2007, these categories were renamed to ensure they were consistent with those in other data items and have been collected as 'own short-term illness or injury' and 'own long-term health condition or disability' respectively. While the way 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 2007 with previous years data. The following table shows a comparison of the renamed categories between 2006 and 2007.

PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE, Change in Reason for ceasing last job and Main activity when not in the labour force, 2006-2007

2007
2006
'000
%
'000
%

Reason for ceasing last job
Own long-term health condition or disability
11.6
13.6
Own disability or handicap
551.4
67.4
Own short-term illness or injury
736.8
86.4
Own illness or injury
267.1
32.6
Total
852.8
100.0
Total
818.5
100.0
Main activity when not in the labour force
Own long-term health condition or disability
63.3
9.3
Own disability or handicap
301.6
46.6
Own short-term illness or injury
616.8
90.7
Own illness or injury
345.2
53.4
Total
680.2
100.0
Total
646.7
100.0


22 From September 2007, a new data item, 'All reasons not available to start work within four weeks', has been collected in addition to 'Main reason not available to start work within four weeks'.


COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS

23 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.


24 For the years 1988 to 2004, the difference between the estimates appearing in this publication and in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) is chiefly the result of excluding people aged 70 years and over from the sample of this supplementary survey. In these years, 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 because they were aged 70 years and over.


25 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.


26 Further information on persons not in the labour force is available in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).



PREVIOUS SURVEYS

27 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 in September. Results of previous surveys were published in:




NEXT SURVEY

28 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in September 2008.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

29 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.

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Spreadsheets

30 Additional tables with time series data will be released in spreadsheet format. These tables will be made available from the ABS website.



RELATED PUBLICATIONS

31 ABS publications which may be of interest include:


32 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 website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

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