6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Apr 2015 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/05/2015   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY APRIL 2015


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

Australia's unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage points to 6.2% in April 2015 (seasonally adjusted) with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 7,000 to 769,500
  • the number of employed persons decreasing by 2,900 to 11,724,600, and
  • the participation rate decreasing 0.1 percentage points to 64.8% (based on unrounded estimates).

In trend terms the unemployment rate decreased less than 0.1 percentage points to 6.1% in April 2015. The number of employed persons in April 2015 increased by 19,100 to 11,725,000 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 600 to 767,500 in trend terms. The trend participation rate was unchanged at 64.8% in April 2015.

The employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, decreased 0.1 percentage points to 60.8% (seasonally adjusted) in April 2015 from a revised March estimate. In trend terms, the employment to population ratio was unchanged at 60.8%.

Employment to population ratio, Persons, November 2013 to April 2015
Graph: Employment to population ratio, Persons, November 2013 to April 2015


Seasonally adjusted full-time employment decreased by 21,900 persons to 8,115,900 persons while part-time employment increased by 19,000 to 3,608,600 persons in April 2015. The decrease in total employment resulted from:
  • a decrease in male full-time employment, down 47,900 persons
  • a decrease in female part-time employment, down 10,700 persons
  • an increase in female full-time employment, up 26,000 persons
  • an increase in male part-time employment, up 29,700 persons.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked increased 17.8 million hours (1.1%) in April 2015 to 1,651.9 million hours.


STATE ESTIMATES

The largest absolute decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was in Western Australia (down 10,400 persons), while the largest absolute increases in seasonally adjusted employment were in New South Wales (up 9,800 persons) and Queensland (up 5,200 persons).

The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate were in Western Australia (down 0.5 percentage points) and Victoria (down 0.2 percentage points) while the largest increase was in South Australia (up 0.4 percentage points).

The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in South Australia (up 0.7 percentage points) and Tasmania (up 0.7 percentage points). The ABS recommends using trend estimates to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series.

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories.

The impact of recent flooding in New South Wales on the Labour Force Survey has been analysed. Only a small number dwellings selected in the survey were unable to be contacted during the enumeration period for April. The overall response rate for New South Wales was in the normal range and no discernible impact was identified on state or national level estimates as a direct result of the floods.

Unemployment rate, States and Territories, March 2015 and April 2015

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
'March
April
'March
April
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
6.1
6.0
5.9
6.0
Victoria
6.1
6.1
6.2
6.2
Queensland
6.6
6.6
6.6
6.7
South Australia
6.8
6.8
6.4
7.1
Western Australia
5.7
5.7
5.5
5.7
Tasmania
6.8
6.9
6.6
7.3
Northern Territory
4.4
4.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.4
4.3
np
np
Australia
6.2
6.1
6.1
6.2

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated



GROSS FLOWS

Gross flows (Table 17) highlight the change in labour force status of individuals between last month and this month. Gross flows are derived from the sample that is common between two consecutive months which, after taking account of sample rotation and varying non-response each month, is approximately 80% of the sample. However, the level and movement estimates produced from the Gross flows will not necessarily represent 80% of the level and movement estimates in a given month from the whole sample. Despite this limitation, analysis of the gross flows data can provide an indication, in original terms, of underlying movements in the labour market.

In original terms between March and April 2015 the number of persons employed increased by 12,800 with gross flows showing a net decrease of 19,200. The decrease shown in the gross flows comprised:
  • 95,600 persons whose status changed from employed to unemployed,
  • 235,700 persons whose status changed from employed to not in the labour force,
  • 111,900 persons whose status changed from unemployed to employed, and
  • 200,200 persons whose status changed from not in the labour force to employed.

In original terms between March and April 2015 the number of persons unemployed decreased by 43,600 with gross flows showing a net decrease of 21,600. The decrease shown in the gross flows comprised:
  • 111,900 persons whose status changed from unemployed to employed,
  • 150,900 persons whose status changed from unemployed to not in the labour force,
  • 95,600 persons whose status changed from employed to unemployed, and
  • 145,600 persons whose status changed from not in the labour force to unemployed.

As the gross flows data are presented in original terms they are not directly comparable to the seasonally adjusted and trend data discussed elsewhere in the commentary.


ABOUT THE DATA

There can be statistical volatility in any sample survey and while standard errors provide one measure of statistical volatility, it is not possible to be precise about the impact of statistical volatility for any given estimate. However, the ABS will continue to investigate whether it is possible to modify in future its estimation methodology for Labour Force statistics to reduce its extent. This investigation is consistent with the recommendations of the recent independent review into the Labour Force Survey, but will take some time. Statistical volatility is dampened in the trend estimates, and the ABS encourages users to consider these along with the seasonally adjusted and original series in understanding underlying trends in the labour market.