6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Aug 2013 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/09/2013   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY AUGUST 2013


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

Australia's unemployment rate increased by 0.1% to 5.8% in August 2013 in seasonally adjusted terms. The trend unemployment rate was 5.8%, an increase of less than 0.0 percentage points when calculated using unrounded estimates. The number of unemployed persons increased by 9,400 to 714,100 in August 2013 (seasonally adjusted), while in trend terms the number of unemployed persons in August 2013 rose by 4,700 to 712,400.

August 2013 saw the seasonally adjusted participation rate decrease 0.1 percentage points to 65.0%. The trend participation rate remained at 65.1% in August 2013, following a revision to the July estimate.

The seasonally adjusted number of employed persons fell by 10,800 in August 2013 to 11,637,100 persons. In trend terms, employment decreased by 1,500 persons to 11,648,300 persons in August 2013. The employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, decreased by 0.1 pts to 61.2% (seasonally adjusted). The trend employment to population ratio decreased by 0.1 pts to 61.3%.

Employment to population ratio, Persons, March 2012 to August 2013
Graph: Employment to population ratio, Persons, March 2012 to August 2013


Seasonally adjusted full-time employment fell in August 2013, down 2,600 persons to 8,128,800 persons while part-time employment fell by 8,200 persons to 3,508,300 persons. The decrease in total employment resulted from:
  • a decrease in male full-time employment, down 15,600 persons
  • a decrease in female part-time employment, down 13,300 persons
  • an increase in female full-time employment, up 13,000 persons
  • an increase in male part-time employment, up 5,100 persons.

Despite the decrease in total employment, seasonally adjusted aggregate hours worked increased 1.1 million hours in August 2013 to 1,650 million hours.


STATE ESTIMATES

The largest absolute decreases in seasonally adjusted employment were in Queensland (down 5,000 persons), Victoria (down 2,100 persons), and South Australia (down 1,400 persons). The largest increase in the number of employed persons was in New South Wales, up 700 persons (seasonally adjusted). Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories.

Unemployment rate, State and Territories - July 2013 and August 2013

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
July
August
July
August
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.7
5.7
5.7
5.9
Victoria
5.7
5.7
5.7
5.7
Queensland
6.0
6.0
5.9
6.0
South Australia
6.5
6.8
7.1
6.8
Western Australia
4.9
4.8
4.6
5.0
Tasmania
8.4
8.6
8.2
8.3
Northern Territory
5.4
5.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.7
np
np
Australia
5.7
5.8
5.7
5.8

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated



ABOUT THE DATA

Implementation of Sample Redesign

Phase-in of a new sample design was completed in August. For further details, refer to the article on page 10 of the May 2013 issue of this publication and the Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design (cat. no. 6269.0 ).

The phase-in of a new Labour Force Survey sample commenced in May 2013 and was completed in August. The phase-in has resulted in a short term increase in the standard errors associated with Labour Force data. Standard errors on month-to-month movement estimates are predicted to increase by approximately 10% during this period but will only have a marginal impact on the quality of level estimates. These increased standard errors are reflected in the table on page 2 in the Notes page.

The simultaneous introduction of two rotation groups per month between May and August 2013 has resulted in a lower proportion of the sample matched between months. The phase-in of the new sample is reflected in smaller estimates in the gross flows in Table 17 on page 22.


Introduction of Online Self-Completion

As previously advised the ABS is introducing online self-completion to the Labour Force Survey and other collections. Online self-completion was offered to 100% of private dwellings in the December 2012 incoming rotation group and to 50% of private dwellings in each of the two incoming rotation groups from May 2013 to August 2013. From September 2013, the ABS will expand the offer of online self-completion from 50% to 100% of private dwellings in each incoming rotation group. From April 2014, 100% of the whole labour force sample from private dwellings will be offered the online self-completion option.

In August 2013, 50% of the private dwelling sample was offered online self-completion and this will rise to 56.25% in September. The ABS has been monitoring any potential impacts of the transition to online self-completion.

Over the first four months of the roll-out period no large statistical impact (larger than three standard errors) has been identified. The ABS will continue analysis over the next 12 months to identify and quantify if there has been any statistical impact.

The August 2013 survey was completed via online self-completion for 9% of the survey sample.


Response rate

The ABS experienced technical issues for the August 2013 Labour Force Survey which have impacted on the response rate. The response rate for the August 2013 survey was 93%, which is lower than the average of the last twelve months (96%). The response rate is usually slightly lower for each August survey due to the addition of the supplementary Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey. The response rate for the August 2012 survey was 96%. The lower response rate may have resulted in slightly more variability in the estimates when compared with previous months. This is not reflected in the standard errors presented in this publication as they are modelled rather than calculated each month.