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MARCH KEY FIGURES
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
MANAGING THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ON LABOUR FORCE STATISTICS
The ABS is currently monitoring for potential impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Labour Force statistics and will continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic.
Quality assurance of March data did not identify any major impact to headline statistics, with only some small early impacts evident, particularly in hours worked. It is important to note that the reference period for March was 1-14 March, which was before a global pandemic was declared and before the major actions in Australia to contain the spread of the virus.
As with other major disruption to the economy, early impacts are usually most evident in the monthly hours worked in all jobs series (Spreadsheet 19) in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). Additional information, such as the reason people worked fewer hours than usual, is available within Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), due for release on 23 April. Some of the aggregate information, in original terms, from the detailed release has been published in a spotlight article in this release, to assist in analysis of March Labour Force data. This information can be found in Spotlight: Insights into hours worked. Some caution needs to be exercised when using original data at more disaggregated levels, as they are subject to larger sampling variability and seasonal patterns.
Additional supporting information can also be found in Spotlight: Classifying people during the COVID-19 period, Spotlight: Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on trend estimation and seasonal adjustment in the Labour Force Survey and Spotlight: People moving into or out of employment or unemployment every month.
The ABS will also be actively managing the potential risks from COVID-19 to data collection operations. Around 90% of responses to the Labour Force Survey are usually provided through telephone interviews or online, leaving around 10% involving face-to-face interviews.
While the ABS suspended face-to-face interviews during the last week of March 2020 enumeration, there was no notable impact on survey collection operations or the quality of March data, with response to the survey at a similar level to previous months. The ABS acknowledges the continued support of Australians in responding to our surveys during such a difficult time, given how critically important this information is.
Additionally, travel restrictions have meant that ABS interviewers have not been able to collect Labour Force data from some remote and very remote Indigenous communities. To ensure that the contribution from these communities remains represented within Labour Force statistics, the ABS has imputed some information. It is expected that the ABS will continue with this approach for the duration of the pandemic.
Further information on these products and other regular products can be found in ‘Measuring the labour market impacts of COVID-19’, as part of a suite of additional COVID-19 related measures at www.abs.gov.au/covid19.
We welcome any feedback on these Key labour market indicator and Labour Force prototypes. Feedback can be provided via the 'Leave feedback' button at the end of the page, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Estimates of changes in the commentary have been calculated using un-rounded estimates, and may be different from, but are more accurate than, movement obtained from the rounded estimates. Graphs also depict un-rounded estimates.
The estimates in this publication are based on a sample survey. Published estimates and movements are subject to sampling variability. Standard errors give a measure of sampling variability. The interval bounded by two standard errors is the 95% confidence interval, which provides a way of looking at the variability inherent in estimates. There is a 95% chance that the true value of the estimate lies within that interval.
MOVEMENTS IN SEASONALLY ADJUSTED SERIES BETWEEN FEBRUARY 2020 AND MARCH 2020
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