Australian Bureau of Statistics

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Topics @ a Glance - Labour
Workforce Participation and Barriers
Statistics and Data Sources

The ABS conducts a number of household surveys that are relevant to those interested in workforce participation and barriers in Australia. The most commonly used estimates of workforce participation and barriers are available in the Labour Force Survey, Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey and the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation Survey.

Labour Force Survey (monthly)
The labour force survey collects information about Australia's labour market activity, providing estimates of employment, unemployment and labour force participation. Demographic information is also collected, allowing the data to be disaggregated by characteristics such as age and sex. Information on hours worked includes hours actually worked in all jobs, hours actually worked in main job, hours usually worked in all jobs, preference for working more hours and reason for working less than 35 hours in the reference week,
Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains estimates of employed and unemployed persons classified by sex, full-time/part-time status, states and territories and some age groups. It also contains estimates of monthly aggregate hours worked.
More detailed data are published one week later in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed – Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), which includes actual and usual hours worked of employed people.
Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003) is released quarterly and contains industry and occupation data.
Microdata are available in a Longitudinal Confidentialised Unit Record File (cat. no. 6602.0).

Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey (annual)
The Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey collects information on persons who are neither employed nor unemployed, including whether they wanted to work, reasons for not actively looking for work, availability for work, and main activity while not in the labour force.
Many people not in the labour force have some attachment to the labour force. For example, they may want a job, but for a variety of reasons are not actively looking for work though they are available to start a job. There is some expectation that many of these people could participate in the labour force in the short term or if labour market conditions changed.

Summary results are published in Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6220.0).

Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation (two-yearly)
The Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation topic is included in the Multi-Purpose Household Survey and collects information about people who are aged 18 years and over are either not employed or who usually worked less than 16 hours. The survey provides information on the potential labour force, what is preventing these people finding or taking up (more) work and a range of incentives to increase labour force participation.

Summary results are published in Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia (cat. no. 6239.0).
Microdata are available in Confidentialised Unit Record File (cat. no. 4100.0.55.001).
Table builder is available in Microdata: Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Retirement and Retirement Intentions, July 2010 to June 2011 (cat. no. 6238.0.55.001)

Job Search Experience Survey (annual)
The Job Search Experience Survey collects information about the experiences of unemployed people in seeking work, in terms of the steps they have taken to find work and the difficulties they have encountered in finding work. It also presents information about employed people who started their current job in the previous 12 months. For this group, data on the steps taken to attain work and current job details are provided.
Summary results published in Job Search Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6222.0).

Underemployed Workers Survey (annual)
The Underemployed Workers Survey collects information about workers who are not fully employed, i.e. part-time workers who indicate that they would prefer to work more hours, and full-time workers who did not work full-time hours in the reference period for economic reasons. Data are available on number of hours usually worked, number of preferred hours, steps taken to find work with more hours and difficulties finding work with more hours.
Summary results published in Underemployed Workers, Australia (cat. no. 6265.0).

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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