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ABS does publish underemployment figures

I refer to John Watson's letter to the Editor of 17 December regarding the need for measures of underemployment. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) acknowledges that no single measure can capture the complexity of the labour market. For this reason, the ABS publishes a number of measures which help identify the degree of labour underutilisation. As well as the high profile unemployment rates reported in the media, the ABS also publishes a number of supplementary measures. These annual measures are published in the publication Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) and Underemployed Workers Australia (cat. no. 6265.0). These publications can be downloaded free of charge from the ABS website ( The ABS is also developing a new quarterly measure of underemployment. Once released, this series will present a more timely measure of labour underutilisation than the current annual series.

Yours sincerely

Peter Harper
Deputy Australian Statistician, Labour Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics

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