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5 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.
6 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 people living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these people will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such people account for around 23% of the population.
7 The estimates in this publication relate to people covered by the survey in September 2008. 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.
8 Supplementary surveys are not 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.
9 The LFS sample size in September 2008 was approximately one-third smaller than the sample size in September 2007. This is due to an 11% sample reduction that was implemented from November 2007 to June 2008 based on the 2006 sample design, and an additional 24% sample reduction implemented in July 2008. Detailed information about the sample reduction is provided in Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, Nov 2007 (Second edition) (cat. no. 6269.0).
10 The reduced sample will still be representative, with selections made across all parts of Australia.
11 The initial sample for the September 2008 LFS consisted of 27,469 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 21,787 private dwelling households and special dwelling units that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. households selected in the survey which had no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 20,631 or 94.7% were fully responding to the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private dwelling households and special dwelling units (after taking into account scope, coverage and subsampling exclusions) was 11,149.
RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES
12 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:
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 From 2006, occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO-Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0). This new classification replaces the ASCO-Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0). Data classified according to ASCO can be obtained on request.
15 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0).
COMPARABILITY OF TIME SERIES
16 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 revised population benchmarks.
17 Persons Not in the Labour Force Surveys conducted up to and including September 1987 included all people aged 15 years and over. From September 1988 to September 2004, the survey excluded all people aged 70 years and over.
18 The scope of the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey was expanded in September 2005 to include all people aged 15 years and over. This change resulted in about 1.6 million extra people coming within the scope of this survey. Users need to exercise caution when comparing the estimates prior to 2005 with subsequent years. Direct comparisons should only be made where the populations are the same.
19 From September 2006 estimates of the number of people not in the labour force because they were caring for children, include people whose youngest child was aged 12 years and under. Previously questions relating to the care of children were only asked of people with children aged 11 years and under. This change was made to ensure consistency with other ABS surveys. Users need to exercise care when comparing the estimates in Table 9 of this publication with publications prior to September 2006.
20 Following a review of the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey, a number of changes were implemented in the 2007 cycle. Users need to exercise caution when comparing estimates from 2007 with previous years data. The changes are documented below.
21 Between September 2001 and September 2006 people who reported in the LFS that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were not asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work in the Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey. As such, these people were classified as 'Did not want to work'. It is likely, however, that if they had been asked these questions, then some of these people may have been classified differently and may have been included in one of the 'wanted to work' categories. From September 2007, people who specified that they were 'permanently not intending to work' were asked questions about wanting to work and looking for work. As a result of this change, there has been a break in time series. Users need to exercise caution when comparing estimates from 2007 and 2008 with previous years data.
22 Prior to September 2007, the data items 'All reasons for not actively looking for work', 'Main reason for not actively looking for work' and 'Main reason not available to start work within four weeks' included the category 'own ill health, physical disability or pregnancy'. From September 2007, this category has been split into three separate categories; 'own short-term illness or injury', 'own long-term health condition or disability' and 'pregnancy'.
23 Prior to September 2007, the data items 'Reason for ceasing last job' and 'Main activity when not in the labour force' included the categories 'own ill-health or injury' and 'own disability or handicap'. From September 2007, these categories were renamed to ensure they were consistent with those in other data items and have been collected as 'own short-term illness or injury' and 'own long-term health condition or disability' respectively. While the way interviewers were instructed to code the responses to the relevant categories did not conceptually change, the renaming has caused a break in time series. Users need to exercise caution when comparing estimates from 2007 with previous years data.
24 From September 2007, a new data item, 'All reasons not available to start work within four weeks', has been collected in addition to 'Main reason not available to start work within four weeks'.
25 Prior to September 2008, the data item 'Main activity when not in the labour force' included the category 'Home duties or caring for children'. From September 2008, this category has been split into two separate categories, 'Home duties' and 'Caring for children'. Care should be taken in interpreting the data in these categories because some people with young children indicated that 'Home duties' was their main activity when not in the labour force, rather than 'Caring for children'.
26 For the data item 'Main activity when not in the labour force' the categories presented are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, people one year may report that they were retired and be coded to 'Retired or voluntarily inactive', whereas in the following year people who are retired may report that their main activity when not in the labour force was home duties and be coded to 'Home duties'. The movement of data from one year to the next depend on how people interpret and respond to the question 'What has been your main activity since you last worked?'. While the categories have not conceptually changed, care should be taken when comparing estimates from 2008 with previous years' data.
COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS
27 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.
28 The Persons Not in the Labour Force Survey was first conducted in May 1975 and again in May 1977. From 1979 to 1987 the survey was collected twice a year (March and September). Since then it has been conducted annually in September. Results of previous surveys were published in:
29 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in September 2009.
30 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely 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.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
31 Additional tables with time series data will be released in spreadsheet format. These tables will be made available from the ABS website.
32 ABS publications which may be of interest include:
33 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the Statistics Page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.
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