6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Mar 2015 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/04/2015   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY MARCH 2015


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

Australia's unemployment rate decreased less than 0.1 percentage points to 6.1% in March 2015 (seasonally adjusted) from a revised February estimate with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 1,500 to 764,500
  • the number of employed persons increasing by 37,700 to 11,720,300, and
  • the participation rate increasing 0.1 percentage points to 64.8%.

In trend terms the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2% in March 2015. The number of employed persons in March 2015 increased by 20,700 to 11,700,600 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 900 to 768,600 in trend terms. The trend participation rate increased less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.8% in March 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, increased 0.1 percentage points to 60.8% (seasonally adjusted) in March 2015. In trend terms, the employment to population ratio increased less than 0.1 percentage points to 60.8%.

Employment to population ratio, Persons, October 2013 to March 2015
Graph: Employment to population ratio, Persons, October 2013 to March 2015


Seasonally adjusted full-time employment increased by 31,500 persons to 8,131,400 persons while part-time employment increased by 6,100 to 3,588,900 persons in March 2015. The increase in total employment resulted from:
  • an increase in male full-time employment, up 24,800 persons
  • an increase in female full-time employment, up 6,700 persons
  • an increase in male part-time employment, up 4,300 persons
  • an increase in female part-time employment, up 1,900 persons.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked increased 4.8 million hours (0.3%) in March 2015 to 1,630.4 million hours.


STATE ESTIMATES

The largest absolute increases in seasonally adjusted employment were in New South Wales (up 26,000 persons) and Victoria (up 10,000 persons). The largest absolute decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was in Queensland (down 7,900 persons).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was in South Australia (up 0.3 percentage points) while the largest decrease was in Queensland (down 0.3 percentage points).

The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in South Australia (down 0.4 percentage points), New South Wales (down 0.2 percentage points) and Western Australia (down 0.2 percentage points). The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Victoria (up 0.2 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.

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

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
February
March
February
March
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
6.1
6.1
6.2
6.0
Victoria
6.2
6.1
6.0
6.2
Queensland
6.5
6.5
6.6
6.6
South Australia
6.8
6.7
6.8
6.4
Western Australia
5.6
5.7
5.7
5.5
Tasmania
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.6
Northern Territory
4.2
4.3
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.4
4.4
np
np
Australia
6.2
6.2
6.2
6.1

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.

Movements between February and March 2015 in original terms include impacts from the February Participation, Job search and Mobility supplementary survey. These impacts are reflected in gross flows data between February and March 2015 and should be considered when interpreting the series.

In original terms between February and March 2015 the number of persons employed decreased by 21,700 with gross flows showing a net decrease of 23,200. The decrease shown in the gross flows comprised:
  • 80,300 persons whose status changed from employed to unemployed,
  • 240,300 persons whose status changed from employed to not in the labour force,
  • 131,100 persons whose status changed from unemployed to employed, and
  • 166,300 persons whose status changed from not in the labour force to employed.

In original terms between February and March 2015 the number of persons unemployed decreased by 28,300 with gross flows showing a net decrease of 41,700. The decrease shown in the gross flows comprised:
  • 131,100 persons whose status changed from unemployed to employed,
  • 152,200 persons whose status changed from unemployed to not in the labour force,
  • 80,300 persons whose status changed from employed to unemployed, and
  • 161,300 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.