6354.0 - Job Vacancies, Australia, Feb 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/03/2002   
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1 This publication contains estimates of job vacancies for February 2002 based on information obtained from a sample survey of employers.


2 All vacancies (as defined in the Glossary) for wage and salary earners are represented in the Job Vacancies Survey (JVS), except those:

  • in the Australian permanent defence forces;
  • in businesses primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • in private households employing staff;
  • in overseas embassies, consulates, etc.; and
  • located outside Australia.

3 All wage and salary earners who received pay for the reference period are represented in the JVS, except:
  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
  • employees of businesses primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • employees in private households employing staff;
  • employees of overseas embassies, consulates, etc.;
  • employees based outside Australia; and
  • employees on workers’ compensation who are not paid through the payroll.

4 Also excluded are the following persons who are not regarded as employees for the purposes of this survey:
  • directors who are not paid a salary;
  • proprietors/partners of unincorporated businesses;
  • self-employed persons such as subcontractors, owner-drivers, consultants; and
  • persons paid solely by commission without a retainer.

5 The sample for the Job Vacancies Survey, like most ABS business surveys, is selected from the ABS Business Register which is primarily based on registrations to the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) scheme (and prior to 1 June 2000 the Group Employer (GE) scheme). The population is updated quarterly to take account of:
  • new businesses;
  • businesses which have ceased employing;
  • changes in employment levels;
  • changes in industry; and
  • other general business changes.

The estimates include an allowance for the time it takes newly registered businesses to get on to the survey population.

6 Businesses which have ceased employing are identified when the ATO cancels their PAYGW registration (or previously their GE registration). In addition, from May 1999, businesses which did not remit under the GE scheme for the previous five quarters were removed from the frame. A similar process will be adopted to remove businesses which do not remit under the PAYGW scheme.


7 The introduction of The New Tax System has a number of significant implications for ABS business statistics. These are discussed in the information paper ABS Statistics And The New Tax System (ABS Cat. No. 1358.0). The replacement of the GE registration process by PAYGW registration resulted in a number of changes to the populations for most business surveys. However, these changes did not affect estimates of level and movement in the Job Vacancies series.


8 A sample of approximately 4,500 employers is selected from the ABS Business Register to ensure adequate State and industry representation. The sample is updated each quarter to reflect changes in the ABS register of businesses. These changes arise from the emergence of new businesses, takeovers and mergers, changes to industry classification, changes in the number of employees, and businesses which have ceased operations. Such updating of the register can contribute to changes in the estimates of job vacancies.

9 The statistical unit for the survey comprises all activities of an employer in a particular State or Territory. Each statistical unit is classified to an industry which reflects the predominant activity of the business in the State or Territory. The statistical units are stratified by State, industry and size of employment and an equal probability sample is selected from each stratum.


10 Coincident with the dropping of the overtime component from the collection, a number of improvements to survey operations commenced during August 1999 and were completed in November 1999. These included:
  • revised collection forms, with improved question design;
  • improved collection procedures to ensure consistent and accurate reporting by businesses;
  • review of business contacts to ensure that the most appropriate person reports job vacancies data; and
  • intensive checking to ensure 'whole of business' vacancies are reported.

11 Analysis of subsequent reported data showed that these initiatives resulted in an increase in job vacancy estimates for the private sector. There was negligible impact on the public sector estimates from these initiatives.

12 As an aid to users, previously published estimates of the job vacancies series have been adjusted to provide a comparable and compatible time series. Based on an analysis of estimates from the August 1999 and November 1999 surveys, an adjustment factor of 1.3 was applied to the State and industry level estimates of the private sector component of the series up to August 1999. This method links historical estimates of job vacancies for periods before the introduction of the quality improvements by preserving the previously published quarterly percentage movement estimates at industry, State/Territory, and Australia level. Accordingly, only level estimates of job vacancies have changed.

13 This adjustment factor accounts for the impact of the quality initiatives and the change in estimation methodology outlined above. The original (reported) public sector component was then added to the adjusted private sector estimates to produce revised estimates of total vacancies at industry, State/Territory, and Australia levels.


14 Job vacancies series in this publication were introduced with the November 1983 issue of the Job Vacancies and Overtime survey publication. Estimates contained in this publication are not strictly comparable with those obtained prior to November 1983.


15 Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the series so that the effects of other influences can be more clearly recognised. Seasonal adjustment does not aim to remove the irregular or non-seasonal influences which may be present in any particular series. Influences that are volatile or unsystematic can still make it difficult to interpret the movement of the series even after adjustment for seasonal variation. This means that quarter-to-quarter movements of seasonally adjusted estimates may not be reliable indicators of trend behaviour.

16 The series have been seasonally adjusted from February 1984 and the historical series can be made available on request. The seasonal factors are reviewed annually to take account of each additional year’s original data. The most recent review, using original estimates to August 2001, took place in time for inclusion in the November 2001 estimates.

17 Details about the method of seasonal adjustment of these series are available on request.


18 The ABS considers that trend estimates provide a more reliable guide to the underlying direction of the data, and are more suitable than either the seasonally adjusted or original estimates for most business decisions and policy advice.

19 The trend estimates in this publication, obtained by dampening out the irregular component from the seasonally adjusted series, are calculated using a centred 7-term Henderson moving average of the seasonally adjusted series. Estimates for the three most recent quarters cannot be calculated using this centred average method; instead an asymmetric average is used. This can lead to revisions in the trend estimates for the last three quarters when data become available for later quarters. Revisions of trend estimates will also occur with revisions to the original data and re-estimation of seasonal adjustment factors.

20 If a series is highly volatile then the trend estimates will be subject to greater revision for the latest few quarters as new data become available. However, it is important to note that this does not make the trend series inferior to the seasonally adjusted or original series.

21 For more information, see A Guide to Interpreting Time Series-Monitoring ‘Trends’: an Overview (Cat. no. 1348.0); or contact the Assistant Director, Time Series Analysis on 02 6252 6345 or at timeseries@abs.gov.au.

22 Two feature articles which have appeared in the ABS monthly publication Australian Economic Indicators (Cat. no. 1350.0) may also be of interest:
  • Picking Turning Points in the Economy (April 1991)
  • Smarter Data Use (March 1992).


23 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications which are available from ABS Bookshops:

24 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 following few days. The Catalogue and Release Advice are available from any ABS office or from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au.


25 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. For contact information, please refer to the Inquiries box on the front page of this publication.


26 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals. Percentage changes in the Key Figures, Key Points and publication tables are based on unrounded numbers and consequently could differ from percentage changes that are calculated from the published rounded statistics.