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6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Apr 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/04/2007   
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CHAPTER 21.5. LABOUR FORCE EXPERIENCE

INTRODUCTION

21.5.1 The Labour Force Experience Survey collects a range of data about the labour force experiences of people aged 15 years and over during the 12 months prior to the survey date. The survey provides information on time spent in labour force activities, including episodes of working or looking for work, and time spent out of the labour force. The survey was first conducted in 1969, and was conducted on a two-yearly basis between February 1995 and February 2011. The ABS does not plan to conduct this survey again.

21.5.2 Estimates from the survey are used to monitor the extent and nature of labour force participation over an extended period and to complement 'gross flows' estimates from the monthly Labour Force Survey (seeChapter 20 for information on gross flows) in the analysis of labour market dynamics. The information is used to construct profiles of various groups within the labour force, particularly those looking for work.

21.5.3 Labour force activity over a 12-month period was determined from a reduced set of questions compared to those used in the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). For this reason, the terms worked and looked for work are used, rather than the more precisely defined terms employed and unemployed, as used in the LFS. The concepts worked and looked for work are then used to determine whether a person was in the labour force during the year.

21.5.4 This section describes only those aspects of the methodology that are unique to this survey and should be used in conjunction with Chapter 21, which outlines the survey methodology used in supplementary surveys.


SURVEY OUTPUT

21.5.5 Data from the survey are published inLabour Force Experience, Australia cat. no. 6206.0. The ABS has a range of data available on request from the Labour Force Experience Survey.

21.5.6 Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. are not seasonally adjusted) and include:



    Socio-demographic information

    Sex; age; marital status; relationship in household; state or territory of usual residence (including whether a capital city); country of birth; and period of arrival in Australia.

    All persons

    Labour force status (at survey date and during the year); time in the labour force during the year; whether worked at some time during the year; whether looked for work at some time during the year.

    Persons who were employed at some time during the year

    Status in employment; occupation; industry; time worked during the year; full-time or part-time status of time worked; number of employers/businesses during the year; time worked with current employer/business; and whether had an unpaid absence from work during the year.
    Persons who looked for work at some time during the year

    Time spent looking for work during the year (including Mean and Median duration); and number of spells of looking for work during the year

    Persons who were not in the labour force at some time during the year

    Time not in the labour force during the year; and main activity when not in the labour force.

21.5.7 Data collected in the Labour Force Experience survey are compiled according to concepts and definitions outlined in the relevant sections of this publication; for labour force status at survey date, see Chapter 2 ; for characteristics of employment, Chapter 4; for the amount of time in the labour force during the year, time worked and looked for work during the year, see Chapter 9 ; and for socio-demographic and industry information, see Chapter 16.


SCOPE

21.5.8 The scope of the Labour Force Experience Survey was expanded in February 2007 to include all people aged 15 years and over, while previously only persons between 15 and 69 were included. The standard scope restrictions for supplementary surveys outlined in the overview part of Chapter 21 also apply to this survey.


DATA COMPARABILITY OVER TIME

21.5.9 In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, survey concepts, data item definitions, frequency of collection, and analysis methods are made as infrequently as possible. Over the time the survey has been conducted there have been some changes to the scope and sample size. These changes mean that the standard errors for the survey differ over time. The effect on estimates of the change in scope is considered to have been small. Changes affecting the Labour Force Survey may also affect this survey. Such changes are outlined in Chapter 20 and are not repeated here.

    1969

    Initial survey conducted (February) - preliminary data in Labour Force Experience, Preliminary (Ref. no 6.38) (footnote 1) and final data in Labour Force Experience (Ref. no 6.26).
    Survey reference period - preceding calendar year.
    Sample size restricted to three-quarters of the Labour Force Survey sample.

    1973

    Survey conducted (February).

    1975

    Annual collection commenced (February).

    1978

    Survey not conducted (this year only).

    1979

    Catalogue numbers replaced reference numbers - cat. no. 6205.0 (preliminary data) and cat. no. 6206.0 (final data).

    1981

    Change to survey reference period - beginning of February in previous year to the end of the reference week.

    1982

    Change to the classification of some persons (this year only) - persons who reported that they had been in their current job for one year and also reported that they did not work for the entire reference period were not classified as 'not in the labour force' for the remainder of the period (as they were in other years).

    1983

    Change to survey reference period - 52 weeks to the end of the week prior to interview.

    1988

    Preliminary publication discontinued.

    1989

    Sample size reduced to one-half of the Labour Force Survey sample.

    1990

    Change to survey month (March).
    Persons aged 70 and over excluded from scope of the survey.
    Sample size increased to full Labour Force Survey sample.

    1995

    Annual collection ceased - replaced by biennial collection (February).
    Sample restricted to no more than seven-eighths of the Labour Force Survey sample.
    Standard Data Service replaced publication format (cat. no. changed to 6206.0.40.001).

    1997

    Publication format replaced Standard Data Service (cat. no. changed to 6206.0).
    Persons living in remote and sparsely settled areas excluded from scope.

    2003
      The data item 'number of employers/businesses during the year' was derived differently from previous surveys. Prior to 2003, where they could be identified, multiple jobs of multiple job-holders were excluded from this data item. From 2003, all employers/businesses held by all persons were included.

      2005

      Data items related to educational attainment and state/territory of usual residence 12 months ago no longer available.

      2007

      Scope of the survey expanded to include all persons aged 15 years and over, where it previously excluded those over 69.

      2009

      Changes were made to the categories for the data item 'Main activity when not in the Labour Force' with the category 'Home duties or child care' split into two separate categories: 'Home duties' and 'caring for children'. The categories 'Own illness or injury' and 'own disability or handicap' were replaced by 'own short-term illness or injury' and 'own long-term health condition or disability' respectively.
      The sample for the Labour Force Experience Survey was approximately one-third smaller than the sample size in February 2007, as a result of reductions in the Labour Force Survey sample size.

    FURTHER INFORMATION

    21.5.10 For further details contact the Labour Market Statistics Section, on Canberra (02) 6252 7206 or email <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.

    FOOTNOTE
    1. The online Historical Publications Index provides a catalogue of publications released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and its predecessor the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics from 1901- 993. Those titles not digitised are available in print or microfiche format from the National Library of Australia, State libraries and many Australian university libraries. The ABS Library in Canberra also holds a deposit collection of all ABS publications which can be accessed by appointment. Contact the ABS National Information and Referral Service for further information.

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