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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, Sep 2011 Quality Declaration 
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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 2011 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 , Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also applies 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 the Census and estimated populations;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • 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.


COVERAGE

7 The estimates in this publication relate to people covered by the survey in September 2011. 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 2011 LFS consisted of 36,312 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 29,288 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 27,365 or 93.4% 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 16,456.


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 Occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO-Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0).

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


COMPARABILITY OF TIME SERIES

14 The Labour Force Survey estimates, and estimates from the supplementary surveys, are calculated in such a way as to sum to independent estimates of the civilian population aged 15 years and over (population benchmarks). These population benchmarks are based on Estimated Resident Population (ERP) data. Generally, revisions are made to population benchmarks after each five-yearly Census of Population and Housing (Census), however revisions were made to the population benchmarks from July 2010, including those used for the 2011 Persons not in the Labour Force Survey, to reflect revisions to ERP. For more details on the population benchmarks, see the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), and for details about the revisions made, see the article in the September 2010 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

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 in paragraphs 19 to 22 of the Explanatory Notes.

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 and 2008 with previous years' data.

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.

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'.

23 Prior to September 2008, the data item 'Main activity when not in the labour force' included the category 'Home duties or caring for children'. From September 2008, this category has been split into two separate categories, 'Home duties' and 'Caring for children'. Care should be taken in interpreting the data in these categories because some people with young children indicated that 'Home duties' was their main activity when not in the labour force, rather than 'Caring for children'.

24 From September 2009, a new response category, 'Believes ill-health or disability discourages employers' has been included in the data items 'Main reason not actively looking for work' and 'All reasons not actively looking for work'. This category is not presented in this publication, however, is available on request.

25 From September 2009, 'Believes ill-health or disability discourages employers' together with 'No jobs in suitable hours' are now included with other responses to derive the population group 'Discouraged job seekers'. Prior to September 2009, 'No jobs in suitable hours' was included in the category, 'Other'. As a result of this change, there is a break in time series and users need to exercise care when comparing estimates from 2009 with previous years' data. The following table compares categories affected by the change between 2008 and 2009.

PERSONS WITH MARGINAL ATTACHMENT NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK

2010
2009
2008
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

Discouraged jobseekers
102.1
12.0
111.8
14.9
73.9
9.9
Believes ill health or disability discourages employers (from 2009)
*2.9
*0.3
*5.8
*0.8
-
-
No jobs in suitable hours (from 2009)
10.1
1.2
10.5
1.4
-
-
Other reasons
748.9
88.0
711.6
94.9
676.1
90.1
Personal reasons
373.4
43.9
348.3
46.4
323.5
43.1
Family reasons
242.4
28.5
231.7
30.9
226.7
30.2
No jobs in suitable hours (prior to 2008)
-
-
-
-
*7.6
*1.0
Other reasons
63.9
7.5
64.8
8.6
61.8
8.2
Had a job to go to
59.6
7.0
52.5
7.0
47.0
6.3
Did not know
9.5
1.1
14.2
1.9
9.6
1.3
Total
851.0
100.0
823.4
100.0
750.0
100.0

* estimate is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)


26 From September 2009, the method used to determine whether a respondent prefers full-time or part-time work has changed. In 2009, respondents were asked the number of hours they would prefer to work, whereas in previous years, they were asked whether they would prefer to work full-time or part-time. A new data item 'Preferred number of hours' is also now available. Both data items apply only to people who intend to enter the labour force in the next 12 months. As a result of this change, there is a break in time series and users need to exercise care when comparing the estimates in Table 5 of this publication with publications prior to September 2009.


COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS

27 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.


PREVIOUS SURVEYS

28 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

29 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in September 2012.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

30 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

31 Additional tables with time series data are released in spreadsheet format. These tables are available from the ABS website.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

32 ABS publications which may be of interest include:
33 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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