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In February 2014, the ABS made revisions to labour force estimates as a result of the population benchmarks being updated to include information from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Labour force estimates for the period July 1991 to December 2013 have been rebenchmarked to the revised population benchmarks.

Changes to the population benchmarks impact primarily on the level of the labour force estimates (i.e. employed, unemployed and not in the labour force) that are directly related to the underlying size of the population. Changes in population composition such as age, sex or region (as used in the population benchmarks) may result in a different rate of change especially at finer levels of geography. The rebenchmarking has not resulted in any material change to unemployment rates, participation rates or employment to population ratios at the national or state and territory levels.

For more information, refer to the article Rebenchmarking Labour Force estimates to the 2011 Census of Population Census and Housing released in February 2014.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) introduced a new geographical classification, the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), on 1 July 2011 prior to conducting the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. The new geography standard has been designed to provide users with statistical regions that are more stable over time, consistent in size, more detailed, better representative of underlying settlement patterns and socio-economic relationships, and encompassed in a single framework.

In the Labour Force Survey (LFS) geography is used to define areas from which households are selected and to disseminate regional statistics. The ABS redesigns Labour Force regions after each Census and, following the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, introduced the new geographic standard, the ASGS into the sample design.

In February 2014, the ABS released Labour Force regional statistics classified to the Statistical Area 4 (SA4) level of the ASGS, with estimates back to October 1998. Previously, regional labour force data under the superseded Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) were only available back to November 2007. The ABS released an article in February 2014 on Analysis of Changes to Labour Force Regional Estimates explaining the impact of the improvements on regional labour force estimates.

For more information on the introduction of this classification into labour force estimates see Information paper: Regional Labour Force Statistics, 2014 ( 6262.0 .

The ABS also updated Labour Force Survey Standard Errors, Data Cube, Feb 2014 (cat. no. 6298.0.55.001). For users to calculate the standard errors for the ASGS based regional estimates and 2011 Census based population revisions.


In February 2014, the ABS released three short articles on Part-Time and Casual Employment, Migrant Data in ABS Labour Statistics and Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Workers in Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).

Part-Time and Casual Employment article outlines how part-time and casual employment are different, and discusses how each concept is defined. It also discusses some of the intricacies of defining casual employment in a way which reflects the underlying employment arrangement.

Migrant Data in ABS Labour Statistics article describes data relating to migrants which is collected in the Labour Force Survey, and that which is available from ABS broadly and other sources. In particular, the way that 457 visa holders and other migrants are treated in population benchmarks and estimates of employment.

Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Workers article discusses how fly-in fly-out workers are captured and reflected in labour statistics, and within ABS data more broadly. The fact that some FIFO workers report their usual residence as on-site, while others report their residence as being in their home city means that it is difficult to understand the impact of FIFOs in estimates of the labour market for different geographic areas.


Introduction to Labour Statistics is a one-day training course that is designed for anyone who uses or needs to understand ABS Labour Statistics. The course provides an overview of the range of concepts and issues associated with ABS labour statistics. It explores the data produced by both household and employer based collections, and highlights the range of data available.

Courses are scheduled for delivery in 2014 for most state/territory capital cities. For more details about the training course, or to register attendance, please refer to the ABS Training page or contact Rajni Madan on (02) 6252 7457 or email <>.


The ABS has conducted a review of the Industrial Disputes statistics. Since the last comprehensive review in 1999 there have been a number of changes to industrial relations legislation and, more generally, the structure of the labour market and nature of working arrangements have also changed considerably. An important element of the review was to understand the contemporary and potential future data requirements of users. The first phase of the review has been completed and the recommendations were discussed by the ABS Labour Statistics Advisory Group on 22 November 2013. The ABS is now investigating the operational impacts of implementing the recommendations. Once the outcomes from the operational phase are finalised, information about any changes to the Industrial Disputes statistics will be communicated to users, primarily through notes in the Industrial Disputes, Australia (cat. no. 6321.0.55.001) publication.

If you would like further information about the review, please contact Manpreet Singh on (08) 9360 5916.

Image: Latest Releases


Industrial Disputes
In March 2014, the ABS released Industrial Disputes, Australia, Dec 2013 (cat. no. 6321.0.55.001), which presents number of disputes, employees involved, working days lost and working days lost per 1,000 employees in industrial disputes involving stoppages of work of 10 days or more, classified by state, industry, cause of dispute, working days lost per employee involved and reason work resumed.

The survey results show there were 57,300 employees involved in industrial disputes and 36,100 working days lost due to industrial disputation in the December 2013 quarter. The combined Education and training and Health care and social assistance industries (17,800) accounted for 49% of the total number of working days lost in the December quarter 2013. More details are available from the publication.

Underemployed Workers
In February 2014, the ABS released Underemployed Workers, Australia, Sep 2013 (cat. no. 6265.0), which presents information about underemployed workers aged 15 years and over in Septembers 2013. The survey included information on the number of hours they usually worked, number of preferred hours, steps taken to find work with more hours and difficulties finding work with more hours.

The survey results show that the median duration of insufficient work of Australia's underemployed part-time workers increased to 30 weeks in 2013, from 26 weeks in 2012. "Just over a quarter (912,200) of part-time workers, stated they would prefer to work more hours, with over half of these (55 per cent) preferring to find full-time work (35 hours or more). Over half (58 per cent) would prefer to stay with their current employer, 27 per cent want a change and 15 per cent did not have a preference." More details are available from the publication.

Average Weekly Earnings
In February 2014, the ABS released Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, Nov 2013 (cat. no. 6302.0), which contains estimates of average weekly ordinary time earnings and average weekly total earnings for full-time adult employees and average weekly total earnings for all employees, classified by sector and state or territory and by industry at the Australia level, for males, females and persons.

The survey results show that in the twelve months to November 2013, full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings were $1,437.70, an increase of 3.2% over the previous year. The full-time adult average weekly total earnings in November 2013 were $1,498.70, a rise of 3.1% from the same time last year. More details are available from the publication.

Wage Price Index
In February 2014, the ABS released Wage Price Index, Australia, Dec 2013 (cat. no. 6345.0), which contains wage price index measuring changes in the price of labour services resulting from market pressures, and is unaffected by changes in the quality or quantity of work performed. It is unaffected by changes in the composition of the labour force, hours worked, or changes in characteristics of employees (e.g. work performance). Individual indexes are published for various combinations of state and territory, public and private sectors, and broad industry groups.

The survey results shows that the seasonally adjusted wage price index rose 0.7 per cent in the December quarter 2013 and 2.6 per cent over the last year. The growth in wages over the last year of 2.6 per cent was the smallest through the year rise since the series commenced in 1997. In the Private sector, wages growth in the December quarter, seasonally adjusted, was 0.6 per cent and the Public sector grew 0.9 per cent. More details are available from the publication.

Job Search Experience
In February 2014, the ABS released Job Search Experience, Australia, July 2013 (cat. no. 6222.0), which provides estimates of unemployed persons classified by difficulties in finding work, duration of current period of unemployment, active steps taken to find work, whether looking for full-time or part-time work, educational attainment, and number of spells of looking for work in the previous 12 months.

The survey results show that in July 2013, the median duration of unemployment for unemployed people was 17 weeks (18 weeks for men and 15 weeks for women). The most common difficulty in finding work for the unemployed was too many applicants for available jobs (17 per cent) and no vacancies in line of work (9 per cent), while 10 per cent reported that they had no difficulties in finding work. More details are available from the publication.

Job Vacancies
In January 2014, the ABS released Job Vacancies, Australia, Nov 2013 (cat. no. 6354.0), which presents quarterly estimates of job vacancies available for immediate filling for which employers have undertaken recruitment actions. The survey results shows that the total job vacancies in November 2013 were 140.000, a decrease of 0.3% from August 2013. The number of job vacancies in private sector was 129,500 and public sector was 10,500 in November 2013, a decrease of 0.1 % and 3.6% respectively from August 2013. More details are available from the publication.

Wage and Salary Earner Statistics for Small Areas
In December 2013, the ABS released Wage and Salary Earner Statistics for Small Areas, Time Series, 2005-06 to 2010-11 (cat. no. 5673.0.55.003), This product provides summary data for Wage and salary earners spanning 2005-06 to 2010-11 and is compiled from postcode level aggregates from the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Individual Income Tax Return Database.

The data cubes contain various cross-tabulation of the characteristics of Wage and salary income. Data are presented for each Statistical Area Level 2 region (SA2) and other geographies within the new Australian Statistical Geographic Standard classification - along with Local Government Areas (LGA) in Australia. More details are available from the publication.

Stories from the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset, 2006-2011
In December 2013, the first Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD), Australians' Journeys Through Life article (cat. no. 2081.0), was released by the ABS. The ACLD, Australia's largest longitudinal social dataset, is based on a sample of about 1 million records from the 2006 Census which has been combined with records from the 2011 Census.

This article, the first in a series of articles analysing and demonstrating ACLD data, gives just a small glimpse of the type and range of information that the ACLD can provide and focuses on a number of key questions:
  • how has peoples' labour force status changed?
  • have employed people changed industries?
  • are school leavers continuing on to further study and/or moving into the workforce?
  • how many people are taking up, continuing or ceasing providing unpaid care for others?
  • how many people are taking up, continuing or ceasing volunteering?
  • has there been a change in English proficiency for recent migrants?
More details are available from the publication.

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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