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6220.0 - Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, September 2013 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2014  Final
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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 conducted throughout Australia in September 2013 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the monthly LFS who were within 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 design, 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 collection methods 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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in very remote parts of Australia.



COVERAGE

7 The estimates in this publication relate to people covered by the survey in September 2013. 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 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.

9 The September 2013 Persons Not In the Labour Force survey is based on the 2011 Census Population and Housing based sample, progressively introduced to the LFS from May 2013. For more information, see the article in the May 2013 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

10 The initial sample for the September 2013 LFS consisted of 34,104 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 25,498 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 25,186 or 93.3% fully responded 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 14,638.

RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES

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.

SEASONAL FACTORS

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.

CLASSIFICATIONS USED

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

14 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

    15 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 for the LFS following the final rebasing of population estimates to the latest five-yearly Census of Population and Housing, or when the need arises.

    16 From January 2014 Labour Force Estimates have been compiled using population benchmarks based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. However, the estimates in this publication were compiled using the April 2013 revision to the population benchmarks based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.

    17 Changes to the LFS population benchmarks impact primarily on the magnitude of the Labour Force Survey estimates (i.e. employment and unemployment) that are directly related to the underlying size of the population. For more details on 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 April 2013 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) and the article in the November 2012 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). These revisions have not been applied to previous Persons Not in the Labour Force Surveys.

    COMPARABILITY WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS

    18 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.

    19 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 same age ranges are applied.

    20 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.

    21 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 the following paragraphs 22 to 25.

    22 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. Note people who reported that they were permanently unable to work are not asked questions about wanting to work or looking for work. For these people, information is obtained about their last job and their main activity.

    23 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'.

    24 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.

    25 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'.

    26 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'.

    27 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.

    28 From September 2009, 'Believes ill-health or disability discourages employers' together with 'No jobs in suitable hours' are 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 changes in 2008 and 2009.


    Persons with marginal attachment not actively looking for work

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

    Discouraged job seekers
    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
    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)

    29 From September 2009, the method used to determine whether a respondent prefers full-time or part-time work 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 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.

    30 From December 2012 to April 2013, the ABS conducted a trial of online data collections for the LFS. Respondents in one rotation group (i.e. one-eighth of the survey sample) were offered the option of self completing their labour force survey questionnaire online instead of via face to face or telephone interview. From May 2013 the ABS has commenced the expansion of the offer of online collection to each new incoming rotation group, and from September 2013 offered online self-completion for 56% of the Labour Force Sample. Of the households responding to the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey, approximately 11% submitted their data online. For more information see the article in the April 2013 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

    COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS

    31 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

      32 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

      33 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in February 2014, together with the Underemployed Workers topic and Job Search Experience topic. This is part of the 'bridge' for the survey that will be run from February 2015, which will be referred to as the Participation, Job Search and Mobility survey.

      ACKNOWLEDGMENT

      34 The 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

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

      RELATED PUBLICATIONS

      36 ABS publications which may be of interest include:


      37 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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