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The Job Vacancies Survey (JVS) produces quarterly estimates of job vacancies based on information obtained from a sample of employers. A job vacancy is a job available for immediate filling on the survey reference date and for which recruitment action has been taken. Job vacancies data are used as a leading indicator of employment growth, in monitoring of the Australian economy, and for formulating economic policy.
Job vacancies data are available by state/territory, industry and sector. Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are produced for Australia by sector series.
The JVS reference date is the third Friday of the middle month of the quarter, i.e. February, May, August and November. Job vacancies data relate to the number of vacancies which exist on the actual reference date only, and not for a monthly or quarterly period.
Job vacancy estimates are released approximately six weeks after the reference date.
Information for the JVS is collected via telephone interviews from approximately 5,000 employers. The employer sample selected is stratified by state, industry division and employment size to ensure adequate state and industry representation. A minimum response rate of 95% is achieved for the survey as a whole and for each state and industry.
There are two principal sources of error in surveys, sampling error and non-sampling error. Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by the careful design and testing of questionnaires, detailed checking of the reported data and direct follow up with providers where significant errors are detected.
Sampling error occurs when a sample or subset of the population is surveyed rather than the entire population. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all of the population in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if the whole population had been included in the survey.
Estimates of job vacancies are seasonally adjusted to remove the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the series. The seasonally adjusted series are further smoothed to reduce the impact of irregular or non-seasonal factors. Smoothed seasonally adjusted series are called trend estimates. As data becomes available for the next quarter there are usually revisions in the trend estimates for the previous quarters.
The ABS considers that trend estimates provide a more reliable guide to the underlying direction of the original estimates and are more suitable than either the seasonally adjusted or original estimates for most business decisions and policy advice.
The current job vacancies series, based on information obtained from a sample survey of employers on the ABS Business Register, was introduced in November 1983. Prior to November 1983 the job vacancies series was based on information obtained from a sample of businesses which submitted payroll tax returns. The survey was suspended for August 2008 to August 2009 (inclusive) and was re-instated for the November quarter 2009.
Data collection methodology have been improved over time, including survey definitions and sample design. Seasonally adjusted estimates were introduced in 1984 and trend estimates were introduced in 1993.
The JVS uses Australian standard classifications to facilitate data comparability across statistical series. Industry data from November 2009 are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). Data for earlier series are classified to the 1993 edition of ANZSIC.
Job Vacancies, Australia (cat. no. 6354.0) contains Explanatory Notes, a Glossary and a Technical Note which provide further information about data sources, terminology and other technical aspects of the series.
Job Vacancies, Australia (cat. no. 6354.0) is available from the ABS web site.
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