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6292.0 - Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/03/2004   
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March 9, 2004
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Improved labour force statistics

The ABS will be introducing a number of changes to labour force statistics with the release of the February 2004 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) on Thursday this week (11 March 2004).

These changes were previously announced in Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics (cat. no. 6292.0), released on 16 December 2003.

The main change relates to the regular five-yearly revision of population benchmarks, which follows each Census of Population and Housing. From February 2004, labour force estimates will be compiled using updated population benchmarks based on results from the 2001 census. For the first time, regional population benchmarks will be used, resulting in improved estimates for labour force regions.

Previously published labour force estimates for the period January 1999 to January 2004 will be revised based on the updated population benchmarks.

The change to population benchmarks will result in downward revisions for the period January 1999 to January 2004 to the following core series:
  • the civilian population aged 15 years and over (revised down by a monthly average of 40,300 persons)
  • the labour force participation rate
  • employed persons
  • unemployed persons and the unemployment rate - but see the following paragraph.

Coinciding with the rebenchmarking exercise, the ABS is introducing a minor change to the definition of unemployed persons to bring it into closer alignment with International Labour Organisation guidelines. This definitional change, when combined with the revised population benchmarks, will result in a small upward revision in the unemployed persons and unemployment rate series for the period April 2001 onwards.

For further information, please refer to Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics (cat. no. 6292.0), which is available free of charge on the ABS web site. Any queries regarding the implementation of these changes should be directed to Peter Bradbury on Canberra (02) 6252 6565, or via email at <>.

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