Between 2008 and 2011, the LFS had a monthly sample ranging from 41,000 to 61,000 people aged 15 years and over, in urban, rural and remote areas across all states and territories of Australia. This sample range is due to a 24% sample cut that was introduced in June 2008, and was later reinstated between September and December 2009. Further information about the sample cut and reinstatement can be found in Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design (cat. no. 6269.0)
The LFS sample size is sufficient to provide reliable monthly estimates of level and change in the major labour force characteristics of the total population for Australia and for each state and territory. However, the survey sample is not specifically designed to provide monthly estimates for small population groups, such as the Indigenous population, or for small geographic areas.
The methodology used to produce the labour force estimates for Indigenous Australians is based on combining the LFS samples for each of the twelve months of the year. This pooling has resulted in a sample of between 10,500 and 14,200 records each year. This sample size is adequate for providing broad aggregates of labour force characteristics at the state and territory level. However, the sample size per year is still quite small, resulting in constraints on the level of disaggregated data available from the survey.
Note that as the sample is pooled from monthly data throughout the year, and most people are interviewed for the LFS in more than one month (up to eight consecutive months), the number of individuals interviewed each year (approx. 4,100 in 2011) is substantially lower than the sample used to produce the estimates (14,200 in 2011).