Key changes made to Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey include:
REVISION OF POPULATION BENCHMARKS
Revisions were made to population benchmarks for the Labour Force Survey and supplementary surveys in 2009 to take account of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2009 are based on the revised benchmarks.
CHANGES IN THE SCOPE OF THE SURVEY
Persons Not in the Labour Force Surveys conducted up to and including September 1987 included all people aged 15 years and over. From September 1988 to September 2004, the survey excluded all people aged 70 years and over.
The scope of the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey was expanded in September 2005 to include all people aged 15 years and over. This change resulted in about 1.6 million extra people coming within the scope of this survey. Users need to exercise care when comparing the estimates prior to 2005 with subsequent years. Direct comparisons should only be made where the populations are the same.
CHANGE IN THE CLASSIFICATION OF PEOPLE 'PERMANENTLY NOT INTENDING TO WORK'
From September 2007, people who specified that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work. However previously, between 2001 and 2006 this group were not asked further questions about looking for work and wanting to work in Persons Not in the Labour Force survey.
Between 2001 and 2006 people who reported in the LFS that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were not asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work in the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey. As such, these people were classified as 'Did not want to work'. It is likely, however, that if they had been asked these questions, then some of these people may have been classified differently and may have been included in one of the 'wanted to work' categories. From September 2007, people who specified that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work.
REVISION OF DATA ITEMS
Due to revisions to the following data items, users should exercise care when comparing data between years. The following is a list of changes to PNILF over time.
From September 2006, estimates of the number of people not in the labour force because they were caring for children, include people whose youngest child was aged 12 years and under. Previously questions relating to the care of children were only asked of people with children aged 11 years and under. This change was made to ensure consistency with other ABS surveys.
Prior to September 2007, the data items 'All reasons for not actively looking for work', 'Main reason for not actively looking for work' and 'Main reason not available to start work within four weeks' included the category 'own ill health, physical disability or pregnancy'. From September 2007, this category has been split into three separate categories; 'own short-term illness or injury', 'own long-term health condition or disability' and 'pregnancy'.
Prior to September 2007, the data items 'Reason for ceasing last job' and 'Main activity when not in the labour force' included the categories 'own ill-health or injury' and 'own disability or handicap'. From September 2007, these categories were renamed to ensure they were consistent with those in other data items and have been collected as 'own short-term illness or injury' and 'own long-term health condition or disability' respectively. While the way interviewers were instructed to code the responses to the relevant categories did not conceptually change, the renaming has resulted in some movement between the responses.
From September 2007, a new data item, 'All reasons not available to start work within four weeks', has been collected in addition to 'Main reason not available to start work within four weeks'.
Prior to September 2008, the data item 'Main activity when not in the labour force' included the category 'Home duties or caring for children'. From September 2008, this category has been split into two separate categories, 'Home duties' and 'Caring for children'. Care should be taken in interpreting the data in these categories because some people with young children indicated that 'Home duties' was their main activity when not in the labour force, rather than 'Caring for children'.
For the data item 'Main activity when not in the labour force' the categories presented are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, people one year may report that they were retired and be coded to 'Retired or voluntarily inactive', whereas in the following year people who are retired may report that their main activity when not in the labour force was home duties and be coded to 'Home duties'. The movement of data from one year to the next depend on how people interpret and respond to the question 'What has been your main activity since you last worked?'. While the categories have not conceptually changed, care should be taken when comparing estimates from 2008 with previous years' data.
From 2009, 'Full-time or part-time preference' is collected in single hours based on the number of hours a respondent preferred to work each week. A new data item 'Preferred number of hours' has also been created. Prior to September 2009, the data item 'Full-time or part-time preference' was collected based on whether a respondent wanted to work full-time or part-time.
From September 2009, a new response category 'Believes ill-health or disability discourages employers' has been added to the data items 'Main reason not actively looking for work' and 'All reasons not actively looking for work'. This output category is included in the population group 'Discouraged job seekers' which also from September 2009 includes the category 'Believes no jobs in suitable hours'.