6209.0 - Labour Mobility, Australia, Feb 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/08/2004   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Labour Mobility Survey that was conducted throughout Australia in February 2004 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the LFS who fell within the scope of the supplementary survey were asked further questions.

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.

3 From April 2001 the LFS has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional questions and some minor definitional changes. These changes also affect the supplementary surveys. For further details, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (cat. no. 6295.0) and Information Paper: Questionnaires Used in the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6232.0).


4 The ABS has begun the progressive implementation of computer assisted interviewing (CAI) into the LFS. Under CAI, interviewers record responses directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a laptop computer.

5 In the February 2004 survey, the CAI method was used on a random sub-sample of 10% of survey interviews in Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Tasmania and 40% of survey interviews in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The remainder of interviews were conducted using the traditional 'pen and paper' method. The change in interviewing method is not expected to affect the published estimates in any meaningful way.


6 The conceptual framework used in Australia's Labour Force Survey aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0) which is also available on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au> (About Statistics - Concepts and Classifications).


7 The scope of the Labour Force Survey is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and exclude the following persons:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded for census and estimated populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

8 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.

9 The Labour Mobility Survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 persons living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such persons account for around 20% of the population.

10 The survey was restricted to persons aged less than 70 years who have worked at some time during the year ending February 2004.


11 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in February 2004. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


12 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:

  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For further information on sampling error, refer to the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error through careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.


13 The estimates are based on information collected in the survey month and, due to seasonal factors, may not be representative of other months of the year.


14 Occupation data are classified according to the ASCO - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0).

15 Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).

16 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0).

17 Educational attainment data are classified according to Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1272.0).


18 Revisions are made to population benchmarks for the LFS after each five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The last such revision was made in February 2004 to take account of the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2004 are therefore based on these revised population benchmarks.

19 Supplementary surveys are not always conducted on the full LFS sample. Since August 1994 the sample for supplementary surveys has been restricted to no more than seven-eighths of the LFS sample.

20 The scope of surveys run prior to February 1990 included persons aged 15 years and over. From February 1990 the survey scope excluded all persons aged 70 years and over. However, the effect of this change on the estimates is expected to be minimal.


21 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of this supplementary survey and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the LFS.

22 It is impracticable to obtain information relating to a whole year which is strictly comparable with that obtained in the LFS for which the reference period is one week. The definitions used in determining the labour force status of persons in the LFS depend on a detailed set of questions asked about a person's labour force activity during the reference week. For the Labour Mobility Survey, a person is assigned to a labour force category on the basis of a more limited set of questions. It is for this reason that the terms 'working' and 'looking for work' are used in this survey rather than the precisely defined terms 'employed' and 'unemployed' used in the LFS.


23 Results of similar surveys, conducted in November 1972, February 1975 and February 1976, annually from February 1979 to February 1992, then biennially from February 1994 to February 2002, were published in Labour Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6209.0).


24 Historical estimates of the number and proportion of persons who were job mobile for the periods 1990 to 1996 were revised in the 1998 publication. Previously published estimates for reference periods from 1990 to 1996 will still contain incorrectly derived data. If you require further information about these revisions, please contact the area listed on the front cover of this publication.


25 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


Other publications which may be of interest include:

  • Australian Labour Market Statistics, cat. no. 6105.0
  • Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6202.0
  • Labour Force Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6206.0
  • Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6220.0
  • Job Search Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6222.0
  • Underemployed Workers, Australia, cat. no. 6265.0

Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.