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.
REGIONAL LABOUR FORCE DATA
Annual averages are important for understanding the current state of the labour market, and providing medium and long-term signals.
However, unusual, sudden and/or extreme changes in the labour market (e.g. changes to regular and seasonal patterns in employment, working hours, job search or availability as a result of COVID-19) can be difficult to account for in the short-term using a 12 month moving average. The application of an annual average to the original regional estimates in Table 16b is unlikely to accurately or quickly detect turning points in the time series during periods of significant change, which should be considered before drawing any conclusions from these estimates.
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.
MAJOR IMPACTS ON THE LABOUR MARKET FROM CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
From 22 March 2020, Australia saw the progressive introduction of major social distancing and other business-related restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Also, government support packages were announced, including changes to the mutual obligations of the JobSeeker program (announced on 24 March), and the temporary suspension of the requirement for people to actively look for work, and the JobKeeper wage subsidy (announced on 30 March).
Given the Labour Force Survey reference periods (that is, the weeks the data relates to) fall at the start of each month, the March and April estimates reflect this period of significant change in the labour market. The large month-to-month movements in April reflect a combination of the effects of the restrictions and also the effects of government, business and individual responses.
In addition to the standard commentary, the ABS has included an expanded suite of spotlights in to assist in the interpretation of the major changes in key labour market indicators in April. These can be found in Article Archive for April 2020.
LABOUR FORCE SURVEY METHODS DURING COVID-19
Survey response remains high
Labour Force Survey response remained high in April, with the small decline in response of less than 1,000 households largely concentrated within the incoming rotation group. Given the decrease in that group, the ABS made the decision to reduce the influence of the incoming rotation group this month, an approach last used for an incoming rotation group in Queensland, in September 2016. For more information, please refer to ‘Insights from the original data’.
Given the extent of change in Labour Force time series, the ABS has temporarily suspended trend series and moved to using forward factors for seasonal adjustment. All estimates within the commentary, including information for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, refer to seasonally adjusted data. For more information, please refer to 'Suspension of trend series and changes to seasonal adjustment during the COVID-19 period'.
Changes to Net Overseas Migration revisions used in LFS benchmarks
In response to COVID-19 related changes in travel, the ABS will revise preliminary Net Overseas Migration estimates more frequently. Net Overseas Migration estimates are a component of population estimates, from which Labour Force benchmarks are produced. For more information, please refer to 'Net Overseas Migration revisions in Labour Force benchmarks during COVID-19'.
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