6222.0 - Job Search Experience of Unemployed Persons, Australia, Jul 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2002   
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1 The statistics in this publication are compiled from data collected in the Job Search Experience of Unemployed Persons Survey that was conducted throughout Australia in July 2001 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. 6203.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing relevant to both the LFS and supplementary surveys.

Concepts, Sources and Methods

3 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 this site.


4 The scope of the LFS was restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excluded the following persons:

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

5 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with handicaps), and inmates of prisons are excluded from this supplementary survey.

6 The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all States and Territories, but excluded approximately 80,000 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 produced for individual States and Territories, except the Northern Territory where such persons account for over 20% of the population.


7 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in July 2001. 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. 6203.0)).

Reliability of the Estimates

8 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, see 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 to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.

Seasonal Factors

9 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.

Comparability of Time Series

10 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 1999 to take account of the results of the 1996 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 1999 are therefore based on revised population benchmarks.

11 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. The reduction in sample size means that the standard errors for this survey differ from those applicable to previous surveys.

Comparability of Monthly LFS Statistics

12 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.

Notes on Estimates

13 The Government made significant changes to the manner in which it provided employment services to the community between September 1997 and May 1998. As a result, the nature of job search activity undertaken by jobseekers changed.

14 Prior to the change in employment service arrangements, the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) provided jobseekers with access to labour market assistance and offices of the then Department of Social Security (DSS) provided jobseekers with access to income support.

15 Centrelink progressively replaced the CES and DSS shopfronts from September 1997. A competitive employment services market, the Job Network, was launched on 1 May 1998. The Job Network consists of private, community and government organisations on contract to the government to provide employment services to the community. As from that date, jobseekers register with Centrelink for job search assistance and can choose to go to any of the Job Network employment agencies. The agency then attempts to match jobseekers with jobs that are registered with them by employers.

16 During the transition to the new employment services market, Centrelink performed a similar role to the CES. Jobseekers registered at either a CES or Centrelink office, depending on which was operating in their area, for income support and/or job search assistance.

17 Due to the changes in the nature of employment services, caution should be used in comparing results for periods prior to the introduction of the changes with results from surveys conducted after the changes occurred.

Changes since last survey

18 In April 2001, a redesigned LFS questionnaire was introduced. This has impacted on the information presented in this publication from July 2001 as described in paragraphs 19 and 20.

19 Some minor changes have been made to the definition of unemployed persons. The new definition excludes persons who were stood down and persons unavailable to start work due to temporary illness and may include some contributing family workers away from work (see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (Cat. no. 6295.0)). Note that up to and including July 2000, the Job Search Experience of Unemployed Persons Survey excluded persons who had been stood down as it was inappropriate to ask them about their job search experience.

20 Details of last job of unemployed persons are now collected (e.g. usual gross weekly pay in last job and industry of last job). Previously, these details were collected in relation to last full-time job. (Note that industry, occupation and reasons for ceasing last full-time job were not collected in July 2000 due to the conduct of a statistical impact study on the new LFS questionnaire).

21 This publication contains level of highest educational attainment which has been classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). The ASCED is a new national standard classification which spans all sectors of the formal Australian education system; that is, School, Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education. From 2001, ASCED replaces a number of classifications used in administrative and statistical systems, including the ABS Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ). The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education (see Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (Cat. no. 1272.0)). For further details on how highest educational attainment is determined, see Education and Work, Australia (Cat. no. 6227.0).

Previous Surveys

22 Results of similar surveys on job search experience conducted in July 1984, July 1985, June 1986, July 1988, July 1990, June 1991, and annually from July 1992 were published in previous issues of Job Search Experience of Unemployed Persons, Australia (Cat. no. 6222.0).

Next Survey

23 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in July 2002.


24 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.

Related Publications

25 Other publications which may be of interest include:

Labour Force, Australia (Cat. no. 6203.0)
Successful and Unsuccessful Job Search Experience, Australia (Cat. no. 6245.0)
Labour Mobility, Australia (Cat. no. 6209.0)
Labour Force Experience, Australia (Cat. no. 6206.0)
Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (Cat. no. 6220.0)
Retrenchment and Redundancy, Australia (Cat. no. 6266.0)
Underemployed Workers, Australia (Cat. no. 6265.0)

26 Current publications produced by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (Cat. no. 1101.0). The ABS also issues, on Tuesdays and Fridays, a Release Advice (Cat. no. 1105.0) which lists publications to be released in the next few days. The Catalogue and Release Advice are available from any ABS office or from this site.