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THE POTENTIAL FOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR INFORMATION
EXPLORING SECTOR IN THE AUSTRALIAN LABOUR ACCOUNT
The Australian Labour Account has been developed to provide a framework that brings together data from a number of sources including household surveys, business surveys and administrative data. Through the balancing and confrontation processes of the Labour Account, the ABS is able to produce estimates of key labour market variables that are coherent with the National Accounts, which more effectively enable the industry analysis of the state of the Australian labour market and changes over time.
The Australian Labour Account already provides the most comprehensive source of industry based estimates of both employed persons and the number of jobs. Industry information in the Australian Labour Account is more reliant on business sources for its industry distribution, as these sources draw directly upon the categorisation of industry from the ABS Business Register. This ensures that labour inputs are effectively connected to their related production, employment related costs and the compensation of employees, which are measured using business based data sources.
While the Australian Labour Account does not currently produce information by sector, it is well placed to, given sector information is also available from its key data sources. The ABS is currently exploring a range of techniques and methodologies for compiling sector estimates in the Australian Labour Account, drawing on the same sources used for industry level information.
One simple approach would be to derive a proportional sector split in the Labour Account using the relationship between private sector aggregates in the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey (benchmarked to data from the annual Economic Activity Survey) and public sector aggregates in the annual Survey of Employment and Earnings (distributed across quarters using movements in Compensation of Employees).
The following graphs provide an illustration of employed persons data produced from this approach, which are presented together with the employed persons data from Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003). The Labour Account data is noticeably less variable over time, and the ABS considers that it would provide a more reliable indication of both the level and changes in employment and jobs by sector. It is also important to note that the Labour Account time series would be around twice as long as its Labour Force Survey counterpart, and would be further extended as Labour Account data are expanded to include earlier periods.
The ABS is keen to hear from users of public and private sector data about the usefulness of the information in this article and whether sector data would be a useful addition to the Australian Labour Account.
The ABS is also interested in comments around the value of these data relative to the data released in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003), if employed persons estimates by sector were available in the Labour Account.
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