The Census is the main source of small area data on the labour force characteristics of Indigenous people. This chapter presents information on employment, by industry and occupation, and unemployment. It also presents information on the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) participation. Care should be exercised when using CDEP participation as its collection was limited to people enumerated on the Indigenous Household Form (IHF) and who answered 'Yes' to the question on whether they had a job last week (question 41 on the IHF). The limited collection in the 2006 Census of this variable means it cannot be used as a count of people who are participating in the CDEP program. It does, however, provide information on the characteristics of those people for whom it was collected.
Care should be taken when comparing labour force data from the Census with information collected in the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS provides Australia's official estimates of employment and unemployment, and includes quarterly information on industry and occupation. While the Census aims to derive labour force status that is comparable with the LFS, there are a range of differences in the scope, coverage, timing, measurement of underlying labour force concepts and collection methodologies of the LFS and Census. Largely due to space limitations on the Census form, as well as constraints imposed by self enumeration, the Census uses a shorter questionnaire module to determine labour force status. Census data is also affected by non-response; LFS estimates only include fully responding questionnaires but are adjusted to account for any non-response. While Census and LFS survey counts may differ, the proportions of people in each industry and occupation category are similar at the broad level. For more information refer to the Census and Labour Force Survey feature article in Australian Labour Market Statistics, October 2007 (cat. no. 6105.0).
For more information see Appendix 2 - Census Labour Force data.
Other sources of Indigenous labour force data are the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) 2002 and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) 2004-2005. Both these surveys are based on the same underlying concepts as the LFS however; as with Census, there are differences in collection methodologies, definitions, questions and estimation procedures which affect the comparability of data between collections.
This chapter first presents a comparison of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations between the 15 years and over age group. More detailed comparisons are presented for the 15-64 age group to compare working age populations and adjust for the larger proportion of older people in the non-Indigenous population with low participation rates.
Proportions presented in this chapter exclude not stated responses, and are therefore calculated using only known responses. Where possible, the numbers of unknown responses are noted in the tables, allowing further analysis if required.