Active steps to find work
Includes writing, telephoning or applying in person to an employer for work; answering an advertisement for a job; checking factory noticeboards or the touchscreens at Centrelink offices; being registered with Centrelink as a jobseeker; checking or registering with any other employment agency; advertising or tendering for work; and contacting friends or relatives.
Actual hours worked
The hours actually worked during the reference week, not necessarily hours paid for.
Adult employees are those employees 21 years of age or over and those employees who, although under 21 years of age, are paid at the full adult rate for their occupation.
Aggregate (actual) hours worked
The total number of hours a group of employed persons has actually worked during the reference week, not necessarily hours paid for.
Attending full-time education
Persons aged 15-24 years who were enrolled full-time at secondary school, high school, Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college, university, or other educational institution in the reference week.
Average compensation per employee
National Accounts. The total compensation of employees divided by the number of employees.
Average earnings (National Accounts basis)
See average compensation per employee.
Average hours worked
Aggregate hours worked by a group divided by the number of persons in that group.
Average weekly earnings
Average weekly earnings represent average gross (before tax) earnings of employees and do not relate to average award rates nor to the earnings of the 'average person'. Estimates of average weekly earnings are derived by dividing estimates of weekly total earnings by estimates of number of employees. For information about scope exclusions applying to employer surveys, refer to paragraph 43 of the Explanatory Notes.
Civilian population aged 15 years and over
All usual residents of Australia aged 15 years and over except members of the permanent defence forces, certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments customarily excluded from census and estimated population counts, overseas residents in Australia, and members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.
Commonwealth government employees
Employees of all departments, agencies and authorities created by or reporting to the Commonwealth Parliament. Those bodies run jointly by the Commonwealth Government and state governments are classified to Commonwealth.
Compensation of employees
National Accounts. The total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by enterprises to employees in return for work done by the employees during the accounting period. Compensation of employees comprises wages and salaries (in cash and in kind) and employers' social contributions. Compensation of employees is not payable in respect of unpaid work undertaken voluntarily, including the work done by members of a household within an unincorporated enterprise owned by the same household. Compensation of employees excludes any taxes payable by the employer on the wage and salary bill (e.g. payroll tax, fringe benefits tax). See Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) for further information.
Contributing family worker
A person who works without pay, in an economic enterprise operated by a relative.
Country of birth
Classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0).
A family based on two persons who are in a registered or de facto marriage and who are usually resident in the same household.
All family members under 15 years, and all children aged 15-24 years attending full-time education (except those who have a partner or child of their own usually resident in the household).
Any child in a family under 15 years of age or aged 15-24 years who is attending full-time education (except those who have a partner or child of their own usually resident in the household).
A child who is 15-24 years of age, who is attending full-time education, and who has no partner or child of his or her own usually resident in the same household.
Persons with marginal attachment to the labour force who wanted to work and were available to start work within the next four weeks but whose main reason for not actively looking for work was that they believed they would not find a job for any of the following reasons:
Duration of unemployment
- considered to be too young/too old by employers
- lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience
- difficulties because of language or ethnic background
- no jobs in their locality or line of work
- no jobs available at all.
Under the redesigned LFS questionnaire, implemented in April 2001, the definition of duration of unemployment is the period of time from when an unemployed person began looking for work, until the end of the reference week; or the period of time since an unemployed person last worked in any job for two weeks or more, until the end of the reference week; whichever was the shorter period.
Prior to April 2001, duration of unemployment was defined in the LFS as the period of time from when an unemployed person began looking for work, until the end of the reference week; or the period of time since an unemployed person last worked full-time for two weeks or more, until the end of the reference week; whichever was the shorter period.
Employed persons include all persons aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:
- worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or
- worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
- were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
- away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
- away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
- away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
- on strike or locked out; or
- on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job; or
- were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.
See full-time employed.
See part-time employed.
Labour Force Survey and other household surveys. A person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, a retainer fee from their employer while working on a commission basis, tips, piece rates, or payment in kind, or a person who operates their own incorporated enterprise with or without hiring employees.
Employer surveys. Employees are wage and salary earners who received pay for any part of the reference period. For information about scope exclusions applying to employer surveys, refer to paragraph 43 of the Explanatory Notes.
Wage Price Index. A job for which the occupant receives remuneration in wages, salary, payment in kind, or piece rates. All employee jobs in all employing organisations (except those excluded from all ABS labour employer surveys) are in scope of the WPI, except the following:
- 'non-maintainable' jobs (i.e. jobs that are expected to be occupied for less than six months of a year)
- jobs for which wages and salaries are not determined by the Australian labour market (e.g. working proprietors of small incorporated enterprises, most employees of Community Development Employment Programs, jobs where the remuneration is set in a foreign country).
For information about scope exclusions applying to employer surveys, refer to paragraph 43 of the Explanatory Notes.
Labour Force Survey and other household surveys. A person who operates their own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires one or more employees.
Employer surveys. A business with one or more employees.
Employers' social contributions
National Accounts. Contributions by employers to pension and superannuation funds; and premiums paid by employers to workers' compensation schemes for occupational injuries and diseases.
Extended labour force underutilisation rate
The unemployed, plus the underemployed, plus two groups of marginally attached to the labour force:
(i) persons actively looking for work, not available to start work in the reference week, but available to start work within four weeks and
(ii) discouraged jobseekers
as a percentage of the labour force augmented by (i) and (ii).
Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.
Family reference person
In families which are not couple families or one-parent families, as defined, the family reference person is the eldest person in the household.
Unemployed persons who have previously worked for two weeks or more but not in the last two years.
Full-time educational attendance
Persons aged 15-19 who, during the reference week were enrolled full-time at secondary or high schools, and those aged 15-24 who, during the reference week, were enrolled full-time at a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college, university, or other tertiary educational institution.
Household surveys. Persons employed full-time are those employed persons who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working less than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the reference week.
Employer surveys. Full-time employees are permanent, fixed term and casual employees who normally work the agreed or award hours for a full-time employee in their occupation and received pay for any part of the reference period. If agreed or award hours do not apply, employees are regarded as full-time if they ordinarily work 35 hours or more per week.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
National Accounts. The total market value of goods and services produced in Australia within a given period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital. Thus gross domestic product, as here defined, is at 'market prices'. It is equivalent to gross national expenditure plus exports of goods and services less imports of goods and services. See Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) for further information.
Gross mixed income (GMI)
National Accounts. The owners of unincorporated enterprises, or other members of their households, may work without receiving any wage or salary. Mixed income includes both gross operating surplus for the unincorporated enterprises and returns for the proprietors' own labour (akin to wages and salaries). See Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) for further information.
Gross operating surplus (GOS)
National Accounts. The amount of gross output remaining after subtracting costs incurred in producing that output, but before any deductions for consumption of fixed capital. See Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0) for further information.
A group of one or more persons in a private dwelling who consider themselves to be separate from other persons (if any) in the dwelling, and who make regular provision to take meals separately from other persons, i.e. at different times or in different rooms. Lodgers who receive accommodation but no meals are treated as separate households. Boarders who receive both accommodation and meals are not treated as separate households. A household may consist of any number of families and non-family members.
An industrial dispute is defined as a state of disagreement over an issue or group of issues between an employer and its employees, which results in employees ceasing work. Industrial disputes comprise strikes, which are a withdrawal from work by a group of employees; and lockouts, which are a refusal by an employer or group of employers to permit some or all of their employees to work.
An industry is a group of businesses or organisations that perform similar sets of activities in terms of the production of goods and services. Industry is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0). The industry assigned to an employed person is the industry of the organisation in which the person's main job is located. Unemployed persons who had worked for two weeks or more in the last two years are classified according to the industry of their most recent job.
Unemployed persons who have worked for two weeks or more in the past two years and left that job voluntarily - that is, because (for example): of unsatisfactory work arrangements/pay/hours; the job was a holiday job or they left the job to return to studies; or their last job was running their own business and they closed down or sold that business for reasons other than financial difficulties.
Unemployed persons who have worked for two weeks or more in the past two years and left that job involuntarily: that is, they were laid off or retrenched from that job; left that job because of their own ill-health or injury; the job was seasonal or temporary; or their last job was running their own business and the business closed down because of financial difficulties.
A job vacancy is an employee job available for immediate filling on the survey reference date and for which recruitment action has been taken. Recruitment action includes efforts to fill vacancies by advertising, by factory notices, by notifying public or private employment agencies or trade unions and by contacting, interviewing or selecting applicants already registered with the enterprise or organisation. Excluded are vacancies:
- for jobs which became vacant on the survey date and were filled that same day
- for jobs of less than one day's duration
- to be filled by persons already hired, or by promotion or transfer of existing employees
- to be filled by employees returning from paid or unpaid leave or after industrial dispute(s)
- not available for immediate filling on the survey reference date
- for work to be carried out by contractors
- for which no recruitment action has been taken
- where a person has been appointed but has not yet commenced duty
- to be filled by staff from contract labour agencies
- for jobs available only to persons already employed by the enterprise or organisation.
For information about scope exclusions applying to employer surveys, refer to paragraph 43 of the Explanatory Notes.
The labour force is the labour supply available for the production of economic goods and services in a given period, and is the most widely used measure of the economically active population. Persons in the labour force are classified as either employed or unemployed according to their activities during the reference period by using a specific set of priority rules.
Labour force status
A classification of the civilian population aged 15 years and over into employed, unemployed or not in the labour force, as defined. The definitions conform closely to the international standard definitions adopted by the International Conferences of Labour Statisticians.
Labour force underutilisation rate
The unemployed plus the underemployed, as a percentage of the labour force.
Local government employees
Employees of municipalities and shires and other local authorities created by or subject to the provisions of local government legislation, such as county councils in New South Wales.
A person who has no spouse or partner present in the household but who forms a parent-child relationship with at least one dependent or non-dependent child usually resident in the household.
A person who makes provision for their food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person to form part of a multi-person household. They may live in a dwelling on their own or share a dwelling with another individual or family.
Persons unemployed for 12 months or more. See duration of unemployment for details of the calculation of duration of unemployment.
Long-term unemployment rate
The number of long-term unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force.
Marginal attachment to the labour force
Persons who were not in the labour force in the reference week, wanted to work, and:
- were actively looking for work but did not meet the availability criteria to be classified as unemployed or
- were not actively looking for work but were available to start work within four weeks or could start work within four weeks if child care was available.
The criteria for determining those in the labour force are based on activity (i.e. working or looking for work) and availability to start work during the reference week. The criteria associated with marginal attachment to the labour force, in particular the concepts of wanting to work and reasons for not actively looking for work, are more subjective. Hence, the measurement against these criteria is affected by the respondent's own interpretation of the concepts used. An individual respondent's interpretation may be affected by their work aspirations, as well as family, economic and other commitments.
See social marital status.
The sum of the ages of all the persons in a group, divided by the total number of persons in that group.
Mean duration of unemployment
The sum of the duration of unemployment of all the unemployed persons in a group, divided by the total number of unemployed persons in that group.
The age which divides a group of persons into two equal groups: one comprising persons whose age is above the median; and the other, persons whose age is below it.
Median duration of unemployment
The duration which divides unemployed persons into two equal groups: one comprising persons whose duration of unemployment is above the median; and the other, persons whose duration is below it.
A child of a couple or lone parent usually resident in the household, aged over 15 years and who is not a dependent student aged 15-24 years, and who has no partner or child of their own usually resident in the household.
A person who is not related to any other member of the household in which they are living.
Not in the labour force
Persons who were not classified as employed or unemployed.
An occupation is a collection of jobs that are sufficiently similar in their main tasks to be grouped together for the purposes of classification. Occupation is classified according to the ASCO Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition (cat. no. 1220.0). The occupation assigned to an employed person relates to the person's main job. Unemployed persons who had worked for two weeks or more in the last two years are classified according to the occupation of their most recent job.
A family consisting of a lone parent with at least one dependent or non-dependent child (regardless of age) who is also usually resident in the household.
Ordinary time earnings
See weekly ordinary time earnings.
Estimates produced directly from the survey data, before seasonal adjustment or trend estimation takes place.
Related individuals residing in the same household who do not form a couple or parent-child relationship with any other person in the household and are not attached to a couple or one parent family in the household. If two brothers, for example, are living together and neither is a spouse, a lone parent or a child, then they are classified as other family.
See weekly overtime earnings.
A person who operates his or her own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires no employees.
The labour force participation rate for any group within the population is the labour force component of that group, expressed as a percentage of the population in that group.
Household surveys. Persons employed part-time are those employed persons who usually worked less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs) and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work in the reference week.
Reason for leaving last job
Unemployed persons who had worked for two weeks or more in the past two years classified by whether they left that job voluntarily, that is, job leavers; or left that job involuntarily, that is, job losers.
Seasonally adjusted series
A time series of estimates with the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation removed. See paragraphs 7-13 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.
Social marital status
Social marital status is the relationship status of an individual with reference to another person who is usually resident in the household. A marriage exists when two people live together as husband and wife, or partners, regardless of whether the marriage is formalised through registration. Individuals are, therefore, regarded as married if they are in a de facto marriage, or if they are living with the person to whom they are registered as married.
State capital cities
The areas determining the six state capital cities are the Statistical Divisions for those capital cities defined in the Statistical Geography: Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0).
State government employees
Employees of all State government departments and authorities created by, or reporting to, State Parliaments, including organisations for which the Commonwealth has assumed financial responsibility. Following self-government, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory administrations have been classified to State Governments. Employees of State Governments employed interstate are included in the estimates of the State in which they are based.
Status in employment
Employed persons classified by whether they were employees, employers, own account workers or contributing family workers.
See weekly total earnings.
Total hourly rates of pay index excluding bonuses
Wage Price Index. This index measures quarterly change in a weighted combination of ordinary time and overtime hourly rates of pay. See Labour Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0) for more information.
A smoothed seasonally adjusted series of estimates. See paragraphs 7-13 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.
Underemployed workers are employed persons who want, and are available for, more hours of work than they currently have. They comprise:
- persons employed part-time who want to work more hours and are available to start work with more hours, either in the reference week or in the four weeks subsequent to the survey
- persons employed full-time who worked part-time hours in the reference week for economic reasons (such as being stood down or insufficient work being available). It is assumed that these people wanted to work full-time in the reference week and would have been available to do so.
The number of underemployed workers expressed as a percentage of the labour force.
Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the reference week, and
Unemployed looking for first full-time job
- had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week, or
- were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.
Unemployed persons looking for full-time work who had never worked full-time for two weeks or more.
Unemployed looking for first job
Unemployed persons who had never worked for two weeks or more.
Unemployed looking for full-time work
Unemployed persons who:
Unemployed looking for part-time work
- actively looked for full-time work, or
- were waiting to start a new full-time job.
Unemployed persons who:
- actively looked for part-time work only, or
- were waiting to start a new part-time job.
The number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force.
Unemployment to population ratio
For any group, the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 and over in the same group.
Usual hours worked
The hours usually worked per week by an employed person.
Wage and salary earners
Weekly ordinary time earnings
Weekly ordinary time earnings refers to one week's earnings of employees for the reference period attributable to award, standard or agreed hours of work, calculated before taxation and any other deductions (e.g. superannuation, board and lodging) have been made. Included are piecework payments and one week's portion of regular production and task bonuses and commissions. Excluded are overtime payments and payments not related to the reference period, e.g. bonus payments for earlier periods of work.
Weekly overtime earnings
Weekly overtime earnings refers to payment for hours worked in the reference week in excess of award, standard or agreed hours of work, calculated before taxation and any other deductions (e.g. superannuation) have been made.
Weekly total earnings
Weekly total earnings of employees is equal to weekly ordinary time earnings plus weekly overtime earnings.
Working days lost
Refers to working days lost by employees directly and indirectly involved in the dispute.
Working days lost per thousand employees
Calculated for a quarterly period by dividing the total number of working days lost in the period by the total number of employees in the Australian labour force in the period (obtained from the ABS Labour Force Survey) and multiplying by 1,000.
This page last updated 10 January 2008