Data from the monthly Labour Force Survey are released in two stages. The Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) and Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003) are part of the second release, and include detailed data not contained in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) product set, which is released one week earlier.
The Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) is released monthly. Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003) includes data only collected in February, May, August and November (including industry and occupation).
Since these products are based on the same data as the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) publication, the Labour Force, Australia - Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 6202.0) are relevant to both releases.
For advice on reporting data from our regional labour force products (Pivot tables RM1, RM3 and Tables 16, 16B, 16C), please refer to: Advice on reporting regional labour force data.
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). 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.
ADDITIONAL LABOUR MARKET DATA TO BE PUBLISHED DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
From 23 March, Australia has seen the progressive introduction of major social distancing and other business-related restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. In response to this, the ABS introduced the Business Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, with the most recent data released on 7 April. In addition, two new statistical products – the Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey and Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia – will be released on 20 April and 21 April.
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.
MANAGING THE IMPACT OF THE BUSHFIRES ON LABOUR FORCE STATISTICS
Major bushfires resulted in disruption to ABS data collection operations in some regions in New South Wales and Victoria during January 2020, and to a lesser extent in February 2020. A few remaining areas in New South Wales, particularly within the ‘Capital Region’, were still unable to be surveyed in March 2020.
The ABS has resumed publishing the full suite of estimates for the bushfire affected regions. Caution should be exercised in comparing estimates for these regions for January 2020 and February 2020 with estimates before and after these months, and in comparing these estimates with those for other regions.
CHANGES IN FUTURE ISSUES - NEW ABS WEBSITE IN 2020
The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release and other labour statistics will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider any implications for the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au
As part of the move to a new ABS website, we have also been exploring new ways to deliver labour statistics, including developing prototypes for:
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