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SURVEY METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN
4 A sample of approximately 2,500 public sector employer units is selected from the ABS Business Register to ensure adequate state and industry representation. The survey is conducted by mail each quarter. Data for a number of Commonwealth, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory government departments are collected electronically.
5 The statistical unit for the survey comprises all activities of a public sector employer in a particular state or territory. Each statistical unit is classified to an industry which reflects the predominant activity of the organisation in the state or territory. See paragraphs 8 and 9 for more information on classification by industry.
6 Information on the number of employees in the middle month of each quarter and total quarterly earnings is collected each quarter. Up until the December quarter 2001 the total number of employees was also collected for the first and third months of each quarter, as well as a split of full-time/part-time employees for the middle month of the quarter. Up until May 1996 the number of male and female employees was also collected.
7 Statistical units are stratified by state, industry and employment size, and within each stratum, statistical units are selected with equal probability.
SURVEY DESIGN CHANGES
8 From the March quarter 1997, the industrial classification used in the sample design of the SEE is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC); for more details refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0). It replaced the Australian Standard Industrial Classification (ASIC) previously used.
9 A consequence of the introduction of ANZSIC is that in the March quarter 1997 there was a higher than normal proportion of newly selected units in the sample causing higher than normal standard errors on estimated December quarter 1996 to March quarter 1997 movements. Hence, caution should be used when comparing movements between these two quarters with movements between previous and subsequent quarters. For further information, including the recompilation of historical series on an ANZSIC basis, see paragraphs 10-15 of the Explanatory Notes in the March quarter 1997 issue of this publication.
STATISTICAL UNITS DEFINED ON THE ABS BUSINESS REGISTER
10 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABS Business Register to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. The units model is also used to break groups of related businesses into relatively homogeneous components that can provide data to the ABS.
11 In mid 2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System, the ABS changed its economic statistics units model. The new units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the ATO Maintained Population, while the remaining businesses are in the ABS Maintained Population. Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABS Business Register population.
ATO Maintained Population
12 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the ATO Australian Business Register. Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. For these businesses, the ABS has aligned its statistical units structure with the ABN unit. The businesses with simple structures constitute the ATO Maintained Population, and the ABN unit will be used as the economic statistics unit for all economic collections.
ABS Maintained Population
13 For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS will maintain its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the ABS Maintained Population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new statistical units model described below has been introduced to cover such businesses.
14 Enterprise Group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts, and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
15 Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising (i) a single legal entity or business entity, or (ii) more than one legal entity or business entity within the same Enterprise Group and in the same institutional sub-sector (ie they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia sub-sector).
16 Type of Activity Unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry sub-division (and the TAU is classified to the relevant sub-division of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry sub-division.
17 For more information on the impacts of the introduction of the new economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from the New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).
STANDARD INSTITUTIONAL SECTOR CLASSIFICATION
18 Institutional units are classified by broad economic functions according to the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia which is a key component of the general national accounting framework. For more details refer to Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2002 (cat. no. 1218.0). Data split by the SISCA classification are available on request.
RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES
19 Estimates are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. For more information refer to the Technical Notes.
20 Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the series so that the effects of other influences can be more clearly recognised. Seasonal adjustment does not aim to remove the irregular or non-seasonal influences which may be present in any particular series. Influences that are volatile or unsystematic can still make it difficult to interpret the movement of the series even after adjustment for seasonal variation. This means that quarter-to-quarter movements of seasonally adjusted estimates may not be reliable indicators of trend behaviour.
21 The quarterly series have been seasonally adjusted from September quarter 1983 and the historical series can be made available on request. The seasonal factors are reviewed annually to take account of each additional year’s original data. Results from the most recent review, using original estimates to the December quarter 2002, were used to compile the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates in this publication.
22 In previous reviews of seasonal factors, the original estimates of number of employees for each month of the quarter were used in the calculation of the seasonal factors. From March quarter 2002, the number of employees for the middle month of the quarter only is collected to form the quarterly series. Consequently, the latest review of seasonal factors has used the original estimates of employees for the middle month of each quarter, from September quarter 1983 to December quarter 2001. Therefore, previously published seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the public sector will not be strictly comparable with those appearing in this publication.
23 Details about the method of seasonal adjustment of these series are available on request.
24 The ABS considers that trend estimates provide a more reliable guide to the underlying direction of the data, and are more suitable than either the seasonally adjusted or original estimates for most business decisions and policy advice.
25 The trend estimates in this publication are for the middle month of the quarter. They are obtained by dampening out the irregular component from the seasonally adjusted quarterly series using a centred 7-term Henderson moving average. Estimates for the three most recent quarters cannot be calculated using this centred average method; instead an asymmetric average is used. This can lead to revisions in the trend estimates for the last three quarters as additional data become available. Revisions of trend estimates will also occur with revisions to the original data and re-estimation of seasonal adjustment factors.
26 If a series is highly volatile then the trend estimates will be subject to greater revision for the latest few quarters as new data become available. However, it is important to note that this does not make the trend series inferior to the seasonally adjusted or original series.
27 For more information, see A Guide to Interpreting Time Series-Monitoring Trends, (cat. no. 1349.0), available free of charge from the ABS web site.
28 Two feature articles which have appeared in the ABS monthly publication Australian Economic Indicators (cat. no. 1350.0) may also be of interest:
INPUT INTO THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ACCOUNTS
29 The SEE collects quarterly employee earnings for the public sector as one of the inputs in estimating the gross domestic product component of the Australian National Accounts. Prior to March quarter 2002 the SEE also collected these data for the private sector. From March quarter 2002 private sector data are collected in the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey and are published in Business Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 5676.0).
SUPPRESSION OF DATA
30 Some data have been suppressed to prevent disclosure, either directly or by inference, of information relating to individual employer units. These data have been replaced by the symbol ‘n.p.’, but are included in totals.
31 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications which are available on request:
32 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products, Australia (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.
ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
33 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Details of additional data available are shown in Special Data Service on page 21 of this publication.
34 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.
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