ABS responds to Terry McCrann's article regarding labour force published on 16 March 2014 (The Sunday Telegraph, pg 100, Herald Sun, pg 70, The Advertiser, pg 68, The Courier Mail, pg 43)

To the Editor,

The Terry McCrann article published on 16 March 2014 states that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) employment estimates released on 13 March are 'pure rubbish'. This is not true. The ABS employment estimates are based on international standards and methodological best practice. While these estimates are based on a large and representative sample of Australian households, they are subject to normal sampling variation and the ABS provides sufficient information to assist the interpretation of the estimates. This does not imply the ABS does not believe the estimates.

The article also claimed that 'it would have been better if the ABS had published nothing'. The ABS assists those trying to understand the labour market by releasing a range of information including trend estimates, which are recommended for understanding the underlying level and direction of the series and were not referred to in the article.

Peter Harper
Deputy Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics
17 March 2014