6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, February 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/08/2009   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product



For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Labour Force Experience Survey provides detailed information about the labour force activities of people aged 15 years and over during the 12 months to February of the reference year. The survey measures time spent in labour force activities, including episodes of working or looking for work, and time spent out of the labour force.

Estimates from the survey are used to monitor the extent and nature of labour force participation over an extended period and to complement estimates from the monthly Labour Force Survey in the analysis of labour market dynamics. The information is used to construct profiles of various groups within the labour force, particularly the unemployed.

Information is available on time worked during the year, whether in the labour force at some time during the year, number of employers/businesses during the year, time spent looking for work during the year, number of spells of looking for work during the year, main activity when not in the labour force, and whether had an unpaid absence from work during the year. Further information such as occupation, industry and time with current employer are presented for people who were employed at February 2009.


The estimates in this publication are sourced from the Labour Force Experience Survey which is conducted biennially during February as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey. Results from this survey are released in the publication, Labour Force Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0), approximately six months after the collection period. The Labour Force Experience Survey is expected to be conducted again in February 2011.


Estimates from the Labour Force Experience Survey are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Relative standard error is a measure of the size of the sampling error affecting an estimate, i.e. the error introduced by basing estimates on a sample of the population rather than the full population. Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. Relative Standard Errors for all estimates in the publication are available in the Technical Note.

As a result of the sample reductions in the Labour Force Survey, (see Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, Nov 2007 (Second edition) (cat. no. 6269.0)) the sample for the Labour Force Experience Survey was approximately one-third smaller than the sample size in February 2007. This has resulted in higher relative standard errors associated with the estimates.


The ABS has been conducting the Labour Force Experience Survey since 1969. Since February 1995 the survey has been conducted biennially. Key recent changes made to the Labour Force Experience Survey include:

  • revisions of population benchmarks
  • changes in the scope of the survey
  • changes in the collection of a respondent's main activity when not in the labour force.

    For more information on changes to the survey see Chapter 21.5 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) or the Explanatory Notes of the publication, Labour Force Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0).


    The Labour Force Experience publication contains tables with footnoted data and a Summary of Findings to aid interpretation of the results of the survey. Detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

    Further commentary is often available through articles and data published in other ABS products, including:
  • Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) - refer to Appendix 2 for past articles.
  • Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) - refer to the Cumulative list of articles for past articles.
  • Year Book, Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) - refer to the 'Labour' chapter.


    The main product from the survey is a PDF publication, Labour Force Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0), released electronically via the ABS website. Additional data may be available on request. For a list of data items available see Appendix 1 of the publication. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors, and in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

    For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Centre on 1300 135 070 or contact Labour Market Statistics section on Canberra (02) 6252 7206, or by email to <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.