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REBENCHMARKING OF LABOUR FORCE SERIES
Revisions to the LFS population benchmarks were different across the age groups. The largest change between July 2008 and October 2012 was to those aged 20 to 24 years, with a downward revision of 31,100 persons in December 2010. The following range of monthly revisions was observed:
The main differences to the estimated number of employed persons, in trend terms, as a result of the revisions to LFS population benchmarks, were for 2010 and 2011, with the largest monthly revision being a decrease of 77,100 (0.7%) persons in October 2010. The average absolute monthly change between July 2008 and October 2012 was 28,100 persons (0.2%).
The change to the population benchmarks had an impact on estimated employment growth between July 2008 and October 2012. The largest difference in trend quarterly employment growth was a downward revision of 22,600 in the March quarter 2010, and the largest upward revision of 17,200 in the March quarter 2012. For trend year-to-year employment growth, employment growth in 2010 has been revised down to 303,200 persons from 362,300, while 2011 employment growth has been revised up to 81,900 persons from 30,600. In percentage growth terms, 2010 has been revised down 0.5 pts to 2.7% (previously 3.3%) and 2011 has been revised up from 0.3% to 0.7%.
The impact of revised population benchmarks on estimated unemployed persons was minimal. In trend terms, estimates of unemployed persons were revised by an average absolute monthly change of 2,000 (0.3%). The largest revision to the unemployed persons estimates was a decrease of 5,400 (0.9%) in October 2010.
The unemployment rate in trend terms was not revised by any discernible amount between July 2008 and October 2012. The largest revision to the unemployment rate was a decrease of 0.01 percentage points in October 2010.
The impact on the participation rate was relatively minor. In trend terms, the participation rate was revised by an average absolute monthly change of 0.02 percentage points. The largest revision to the participation rate was a decrease of 0.06 percentage points in November 2010.
CALCULATION OF THE REVISED POPULATION BENCHMARKS
The revised LFS population benchmarks for the period July 2008 to October 2012, together with the November 2012 benchmark, were derived as a series based on 2006 Census-based population estimates, using the latest available estimates of growth for net overseas migration, net interstate migration and natural increase. The LFS population benchmarks are initially derived as a quarterly series, as the components of population growth are only available quarterly. As monthly benchmarks are required for the LFS, monthly benchmarks are modelled from the quarterly benchmarks using linear interpolation.
In this latest revision of the LFS population benchmarks, the benchmarks were not revised prior to July 2008, as the rebenchmarking undertaken in July 2010 incorporated the latest final estimates of population growth. The following table shows the status of each of the components of growth for the period since July 2008.
(a) Refer to the explanatory notes of the ABS publication Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) for more details on the methods used to estimate components of population change.
(b) Forecasts published in September 2012 by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in The Outlook for Net Overseas Migration, June 2012.
For this latest revision the ABS used a method to produce LFS benchmarks that simply projects forward 9 months past the most recent preliminary ERP estimate to the current period. This projection incorporates net overseas migration forecasts provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
FUTURE REVISIONS PROCESS FOR POPULATION BENCHMARKS
To ensure that labour force series maintain coherence with the latest population estimates into the future, the ABS will move to a process of regular revisions of the LFS population benchmarks. In 2013, the ABS will undertake two revisions to the population benchmarks at six monthly intervals. In early 2014, the LFS population benchmarks will be revised to take account of the 2011 Census based ERP. Following this, the ABS will make revision to the LFS population benchmarks on a quarterly basis. The following table shows the timing of future revisions and the period of LFS estimates affected by each revision. Note that, for each revision undertaken, the revision period will comprise all months for which population benchmarks could be updated with the most recent ERP information available.
(a) In the previous month's issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) - i.e. the April 2013 issue is published in May 2013
(b) Extent of revisions of ERP associated with final 2011 Census rebasing will be announced in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) on 18 December 2012 and revisions to LFS will align with revisions applied to ERP.
With the introduction of regular benchmarking, future LFS estimates will use the same method used to produce the LFS benchmarks for this revision, that is to project forward 9 months past the most recent preliminary ERP estimate to the current period and incorporating net overseas migration forecasts provided by DIAC(footnote 1) . For information on the previous methodology of producing LFS population benchmarks see the feature article 'Population Benchmarks and Labour Force Survey' in the April 2012 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
Final 2011 Census Rebasing of Estimated Resident Population (ERP)
The preliminary rebasing of population estimates to the 2011 Census caused Australia's population estimate for June 2011 to be revised down by 294,400. A significant component of this "intercensal error" was due to improvements in the ABS Census Post Enumeration Survey, which resulted in more accurate population estimates from the 2011 Census compared with previous Censuses. In order to maintain coherence between measurements of growth and Census-based population counts, the ABS is considering revisions to the historical ERP series beyond the regular revision of five years to the last Census. See the December quarter 2011 and March quarter 2012 issues of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) for further information.
The extent of the revisions of historical ERP using the final 2011 Census based ERP will be announced on 18 December 2012 in the June quarter 2012 edition of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). Labour force estimates will be revised for the same historical time period as will be applied to ERP.
LFS estimates rebenchmarked to the final 2011 Census based population estimates, including all historical revisions, will be released in February 2014. Prior to February 2014, LFS estimates will continue to be benchmarked to 2006 Census based population estimates.
For any queries regarding the implementation of any of these changes to the LFS, contact Labour Force Estimates on Canberra 02 6252 6525, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Aside for March quarter 2013 and September quarter 2013, which will project 12 months past the most recent preliminary ERP estimate.
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