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WHAT'S NEW IN THE LABOUR FORCE
Since the October 2014 issue of this publication, all other labour force seasonally adjusted series have included adjustments to account for effects of the supplementary survey program. When the Aggregate monthly hours worked series was initially assessed no significant supplementary survey effect was identified. However, with the incorporation of additional observations and further assessment, the Persons not in the labour force supplementary survey (previously conducted each September) has been identified as having a statistically significant effect on the Aggregate monthly hours worked series. An adjustment has been applied to remove this effect from the seasonally adjusted series.
In 2014 Easter fell unusually late in April (Easter Sunday was on 20 April) and ANZAC Day fell the following Friday (25 April). This combined with school holidays had two impacts on the Labour Force Survey. First, obtaining responses was more difficult as householders were absent due to the long weekends and holidays and the ABS extended enumeration by one day to ensure that an acceptable response rate was achieved. Second, the actual hours worked in the reference week reported for employed persons may have been less than normal due to these holidays. While the derivation of the Aggregate monthly hours worked series takes account of public holidays and school holidays, further analysis confirmed that these adjustments did not sufficiently take account of the unusually late Easter in 2014 and its proximity to ANZAC Day. An adjustment has been included in the seasonally adjusted Aggregate monthly hours worked series to account for this effect.
These two refinements have resulted in revisions to the seasonally adjusted and trend Aggregate monthly hours worked series with the largest revisions occurring in April 2013, April 2014 and September 2014. Revisions to earlier periods back to the start of the series in February 1978 were generally minimal.
The incorporation of these refinements to the seasonal adjustment of the Aggregate monthly hours worked series has no implications for other labour force seasonally adjusted series as these already include adjustments for effects of the supplementary survey program and the timing of Easter. However, as previously advised, other seasonally adjusted series will not have the adjustments for the supplementary survey effects applied to periods prior to December 2013 until the next annual seasonal reanalysis is undertaken in March 2015.
The Labour Force Aggregate monthly hours worked series are presented in the quarterly Australian National Accounts: National income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0) and used in deriving several productivity measures including GDP per hour worked and Gross value added per hour worked market sector. As a result of the refinements made to the Aggregate monthly hours worked series, relevant Key national accounts aggregates in publication tables 1 (trend) and 2 (seasonally adjusted) and spreadsheet table 1 from the September quarter 2014 Australian National Accounts: National income, Expenditure and Product have been updated and are available from the Download tab of the December 2014 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
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