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3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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Labour Force Survey


The ABS has conducted the Labour Force Survey (LFS) since 1960. The survey was quarterly before February 1978, and has been monthly since then. The content of the survey has remained broadly the same since its introduction, but is regularly updated to ensure that it is the most appropriate for the provision of accurate labour force statistics.

The purpose of the LFS is to provide timely information on the labour market activity of the usually resident civilian population of Australia aged 15 and over. The statistics of most interest each month are the estimates of the number of employed and unemployed people, the unemployment rate and the labour force participation rate. The rate of change in the number of people employed is a key indicator of the pace of economic growth. The unemployment rate (the percentage of the labour force that is unemployed) is the main measure of unutilised labour, and the participation rate (the percentage of the population in the labour force) reflects changes in total labour availability.

Data items collected by the LFS are capable of being cross classified with Data Items Relevant to Migrants and Ethnicity.

The LFS is conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey program which collects data on particular aspects of the labour force. In most months the LFS includes a supplementary survey topic. A list of these supplementary surveys is available from Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) and Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide, Dec 2009 (cat. no. 6103.0).



  • Country of birth
    Note: There are three standard outputs for Country of birth from the LFS:
    • Country of birth (detailed)
    • Country of birth (major country groups)
    • Country of birth (main English-speaking countries)
  • Year of arrival
    • 1971–1975
    • 1976–1980
    • 1981–1985
    • 1986–1990
    • 1991–1995
    • 1996–2000
    • 2001–2005
    • 2006 to survey date
    • Born in Australia
    • Institutionalised
    • Arrived before 1971

Specific data cubes containing country of birth and year of arrival data can be found by consulting: Data item list: Where to find: Demographic items from the Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide, Dec 2009 (cat. no. 6103.0), and Labour Force Historical Timeseries, Australia, February 2009 (cat. no. 6204.0.55.001).


A full list of data items collected by the Labour Force Survey and details on scope, geographic coverage, data availability and publications, methodology and classifications are available from the Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide, Dec 2009 (cat. no. 3103.0), Labour Force Historical Timeseries, Australia, February 2009 (cat. no. 6204.0.55.001) and Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) or visit the Labour Force Survey entry in the Directory of Statistical Sources.


The Migrant Data Matrices provide a link to summary data on migrants from the The Labour Force Survey. The data items included in each datacube are not exhaustive, but rather a selection of the data available. Care must be taken in comparing data from different collections presented in the Matrices due to differences in survey methodology, definitions and reference periods.

Additional data are also available in the publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service.

Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 2001

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