6160.0.55.001 - Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia, Week ending 2 May 2020 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/05/2020   
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Quality declaration - summary

Institutional environment

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

These estimates use Single Touch Payroll (STP) data provided to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by businesses with STP-enabled payroll or accounting software each time the business runs its payroll.

STP data is supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, which requires that such data is only used for the purposes of administering the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is made within the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements.

These estimates also include Australian Business Register (ABR) data supplied by the Registrar to the ABS under A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999, which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of carrying out functions of the ABS. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ABR’s core operational requirements.

Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of this data have been adhered to. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation.

All personal information is handled in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988.

Relevance

These estimates provide indicative weekly information on the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on employees, including changes in payroll jobs, changes in wages paid and changes in average weekly wage per job.

The scope of this data includes all payroll jobs reported to the ATO through STP. Approximately 99% of substantial employers (those with 20 or more employees) are reporting through STP. Small employers (those with 19 or less employees) begun transitioning to STP on 1 July 2019 and approximately 71% are currently reporting through STP. As a result, not all jobs in the Australian labour market are captured in these estimates.

Data is presented at the national level, state and territory level, and by the 19 Australia and New Zealand Standard Industry Classifications (ANZSIC) divisions. Selected changes in payroll jobs estimates are available at the Statistical area 4 and industry sub-division level are available with this release.

Timeliness

The ABS receives tax data from the ATO on a weekly basis. Estimates are published with a 17 day time lag to the end of the reference week. While estimates are published fortnightly, weekly data is available within the release.

Following the release on Tuesday 19 May, there will be a short pause to the fortnightly publication schedule to allow for additional quality assurance and analysis of estimates as JobKeeper supported payments flow through Single Touch Payroll data. As such, the next release will not be in 2 weeks (2 June 2020), but is anticipated to be on or before 16 June 2020.

Accuracy

Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia is subject to the following sources of error:

  • Conceptual misalignment. The Australian tax system is purpose-built and complex, and in some cases it is difficult to determine how a particular STP item should be used to describe impact on payroll jobs and wages and in some cases the item can be a partial conceptual match. While all care is taken, some income items are subject to this type of validity error. Coherence with other sources indicates that this has a low impact on aggregate series.
  • Measurement error. This is likely to be present in both person and business information used. Most measurement error is unable to be determined or corrected; however, coherence with other similar statistics demonstrates that this has a low impact on aggregate series.
  • Incomplete information. While the majority of large employers are already reporting through STP, many smaller businesses are still in the process of transitioning to STP. Approximately 99% of substantial employers (20 or more employees) and 71% of small employers (19 or less employees) are reporting through STP. Payment data extracted from the STP system each week is incomplete as businesses have different payment frequencies. For example, a business with a fortnightly payroll will only provide STP data every second week. An imputation method is used to account for differing reporting patterns. Owner manager of unincorporated enterprises are also not included in these estimates because they are not in scope of STP-enabled software reporting to the ATO.

The data underlying Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia is revised for each release, as new business reported data becomes available.

Coherence

There are differences between Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia estimates and similar statistics produced by the ABS. When compared to other ABS sources, the change in payroll jobs, change in wages paid and change in average weekly wage per job in these estimates may differ due to:
  • differences in the concepts, scope and methodology used in Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia and those used in other household and business surveys.
  • Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia contains a combination of administrative data collected for taxation purposes from businesses, whereas other ABS data sources are compiled for the explicit purpose of producing statistics.
  • unreported cash in hand payments, which are excluded from Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia but may be included in household and business surveys.
  • Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages including information relating a reference week, rather than a particular point in time.

Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages provides a view of jobs, whereas the Labour Force survey presents a view of employed persons. The difference being those people who hold more than one job at a time. The ABS estimates there are around 1 million secondary jobs in the economy.

Interpretability

Payroll job movements reference all payroll jobs identified within the reference period and therefore don't reflect a single point-in-time measure. The explanatory notes and glossary for this publication provide further information that can help to interpret these statistics.

Accessibility

For more information about Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia, please contact us online or phone us on 1300 135 070.