1288.0 - Standards for Labour Force Statistics, 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/1996   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All  

1. Since its inception in 1960, the ABS Labour Force Survey has collected information about duration of unemployment for unemployed persons. In its current form, the survey collects data each month about the length, in completed weeks, of current (incomplete) spells of unemployment from those who are currently unemployed. Annual supplementary surveys collect data about the number of spells and total duration spent looking for work in the past year.

2. The definition of duration of employment was revised in the Labour Force Survey in April 2001. Prior to this date, duration of unemployment was defined in the Labour Force Survey as the period of time from when an unemployed person began looking for work, until the end of the reference week; or the period of time since an unemployed person last worked full-time for two weeks or more, until the end of the reference week; whichever was the shorter. The revised definition retained the two criteria, but the second criterion was revised to reference the period of time since a person last worked in any job for two weeks or more, regardless of whether it was full-time or part-time.

3. Duration of unemployment is important as both an economic and social indicator. In periods of high and increasing unemployment, changes in median and mean duration of unemployment and in the proportion of person unemployed for longer periods (long-term unemployed) are key indicators of changes in the employment market. Long-term unemployment (i.e. unemployed for 52 weeks or more) is of particular social concern due to the consequences of being out of work for long periods, such as financial hardship and loss of relevant skills.

Previous PageNext Page