6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, May 2013 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/06/2013   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY MAY 2013


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.5% in May 2013, compared to 5.6% in April. However, the decrease was less than 0.0 percentage points when calculated using unrounded estimates. The trend unemployment rate rose by less than 0.0 percentage points to 5.6%, after remaining at 5.5% for three months. The number of people unemployed decreased by 3,600 to 682,900 in May 2013 (seasonally adjusted), while in trend terms the number of people unemployed in May 2013 rose by 4,700 people to 687,700.

Each quarter, additional questions are asked to identify how many part-time workers are underemployed. When added to the unemployment rate, this provides a measure of labour underutilisation. In May 2013, there were 908,600 underemployed persons (seasonally adjusted). The underemployment rate increased from 7.1% in February 2013 to 7.4% in May 2013. When added to the unemployment rate, the labour underutilisation rate was 12.9% in May 2013, up from 12.6% in February 2013.

May 2013 saw a decrease in the seasonally adjusted participation rate of 0.1 percentage points to 65.2%. The trend participation rate remained at 65.3% in May 2013.

The seasonally adjusted number of employed people rose by 1,100 in May 2013 to 11,663,300 people. In trend terms, employment increased by 9,900 people to 11,664,600 people in May 2013.

Seasonally adjusted part-time employment rose in May 2013, up 6,400 people to 3,509,600 people while full-time employment fell by 5,300 people to 8,153,600 people. The increase in total employment resulted from:

  • an increase in male part-time employment, up 15,700 people
  • an increase in male full-time employment, up 2,400 people
  • a fall in female part-time employment, down 9,300 people
  • a fall in female full-time employment, down 7,800 people.

Despite the increase in total employment, seasonally adjusted aggregate hours worked decreased 11.5 million hours (0.7%) in May 2013 to 1,628.5 million hours.


STATE ESTIMATES

The largest absolute increases in employment were seen in Victoria and South Australia, with increases of 11,400 and 4,700 people respectively (seasonally adjusted). The number of employed people decreased in New South Wales and Western Australia, down 1,700 people and 800 people respectively (seasonally adjusted). (Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories).

Unemployment rate State and Territories April 2013 and May 2013

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
April
May
April
May
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.4
5.5
5.3
5.6
Victoria
5.6
5.6
5.8
5.4
Queensland
5.7
5.7
5.7
5.8
South Australia
5.8
5.9
5.8
5.9
Western Australia
4.9
5.1
5.3
4.9
Tasmania
7.3
7.3
7.5
7.3
Northern Territory
4.8
5.1
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.2
4.1
np
np
Australia
5.5
5.6
5.6
5.5

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



ABOUT THE DATA

In May 2013 the ABS commenced the phase-in of the new sample design, as well as expanding the roll out of the offer of online self completion of the Labour Force Survey.

The phase-in of a new survey sample will lead to a short term increase in the standard errors associated with Labour Force data. Standard errors on month-to-month movement estimates are predicted to increase by approximately 10% during this period but will only have a marginal impact on the quality of level estimates. For further details, refer to the article on page 10 in this issue and the Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, May 2013 (ABS cat. no. 6269.0). These standard errors are reflected in the table on page 2 in the Notes page.

The simultaneous phase-in of two rotation groups per month between May and August 2013 has resulted in a lower proportion of the sample matched between April 2013 and May 2013. This is reflected in smaller estimates in the gross flows in Table 17 on page 28.


ANNUAL SEASONAL REANALYSIS

The ABS conducted the annual seasonal reanalysis in May to review the continued appropriateness of seasonal factors. The seasonally adjusted and trend estimates released in this issue reflect adjustments made to the data as a result of this reanalysis. As part of ongoing improvements to the seasonal adjustment methods applied to the Labour Force, revisions were made to the way that special account is taken of the variable timing of the commencement of interviews in January. This has resulted in historical revisions being made to the seasonally adjusted estimates for employment and some of its components particularly for the most recent Januarys.

Due to the reanalysis identifying evidence of emerging seasonality, quarterly employment estimates for Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) Division I 'Transport, Postal and Warehousing' and Division N 'Administrative and Support Services' have been changed from non-seasonal to seasonal series for the entire time period. This has resulted in less variability in the time series as the influence of systematic calendar related events have been removed. For further details, refer to the Annual Seasonal Reanalysis article on page 7 of this issue.