6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Mar 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/04/2016   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

INSIGHTS FROM THE ORIGINAL DATA


SAMPLE COMPOSITION

The Labour Force Survey sample can be thought of as comprising eight sub-samples (or rotation groups), with each sub-sample remaining in the survey for eight months, and one rotation group "rotating out" each month and being replaced by a new group "rotating in". This sample rotation is important in ensuring that seven-eighths of the sample are common from one month to the next, to ensure that changes in the estimates reflect real changes in the labour market, rather than the sample. In addition, the replacement sample is generally selected from the same geographic areas as the outgoing one, as part of a representative sampling approach.

When considering movements in the original estimates, it is possible to decompose the sample into three components:

  • the matched common sample (survey respondents who responded in both February and March);
  • the unmatched common sample (respondents in March but who did not respond in February, or vice versa); and
  • the incoming rotation group (who replaced respondents who rotated out in February).

The detailed decomposition of each of these movements is included in the data cube 'Insights From the Original Data'.

In considering the three components of the sample, it is important to remember that the matched common sample describes the change observed for the same respondents between February and March, while the other two components reflect differences between the aggregate labour force status of different groups of people.

While the rotation groups are designed to be representative of the population, the outgoing and incoming rotation groups will almost always have somewhat different characteristics, as a result of the groups representing a sample of different households and people. The design of the survey, including the weighting and estimation processes, ensures that these differences are generally relatively minor and seeks to ensure that differences in characteristics of rotation groups do not affect the representativeness of the survey and its estimates. Monthly estimates are always designed to be representative of their respective months, regardless of the relative contribution of the three components of the sample.


INCOMING ROTATION GROUP

In original terms, the rotation group which was new to the sample in March 2016 (the incoming rotation group) was less employed, with an employment to population ratio of 59.9%, when compared to the rest of the sample (all other rotation groups except the incoming rotation group), which had an employment to population ratio of 61.4%. The rotation group which it replaced (the outgoing rotation group) was also less employed than the rest of the sample. In February 2016, the outgoing rotation group had an employment to population ratio of 60.5% and the rest of the sample had an employment to population ratio of 61.6%.

The incoming rotation group had a lower proportion of people employed full-time when compared to the rest of the sample (all other rotation groups except the incoming rotation group), with 66.9% of employed people who were full-time in the incoming rotation group, compared with 68.6% of employed people for the rest of the sample. In contrast, the outgoing rotation group in February 2016 had a higher proportion, with 71.2% of employed people who were full-time, compared with 69.0% of employed people for the rest of the sample in February.

The incoming rotation group also had a higher unemployment rate and a lower participation rate when compared to the rest of the sample. In March 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.6% for the incoming rotation group compared with 5.9% for the rest of the sample. The participation rate was 64.2% for the incoming rotation group and 65.3% for the rest of the sample. The rotation group which it replaced had an unemployment rate of 5.9% in February 2016 and the rest of the sample had an unemployment rate of 6.2%.


OUTGOING ROTATION GROUP

In looking ahead to the April 2016 estimates, the outgoing rotation group in March 2016, which will be replaced by a new incoming rotation group in April 2016, had a similar employment to population ratio (60.9% in March 2016) compared to the sample as a whole (61.2% in March 2016).

The unemployment rate for the outgoing rotation group was 5.9%, only slightly below the 6.0% for the entire sample. The participation rate for the outgoing rotation group in March 2016 was 64.7%, which was also below that for the sample as a whole (65.1%).


THE IMPORTANCE OF TREND DATA

As the gross flows and rotation group data are presented in original terms they are not directly comparable to the seasonally adjusted and trend data discussed elsewhere in the commentary, and are included to provide additional information for the original data. Since the original data are unadjusted, they have a considerable level of inherent sampling variability, which is specifically adjusted for in the trend series. The trend data provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market and are the focus of the commentary in this publication.