1360.0 - Measuring Australia's Economy, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/2003   
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Contents >> Section 7. Labour Force and Demography >> Labour Force Framework



Explanatory Notes

The labour force framework is a map of the population from a labour supply perspective. Just as the system of national accounts provides a measure of economic activity (the value of the production of goods and services), the ABS Labour Force Survey measures the economically active population (the national labour supply available for that production), under the principles of the framework.

The framework and the survey concepts and definitions are closely comparable with the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation, developed through successive Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

The Labour Force Survey classifies the civilian population aged 15 or more (broadly, above compulsory schooling age) as
  • currently economically active (the labour force, comprised of the employed plus the unemployed), or
  • not currently active (those not in the labour force).
The labour force represents the supply of labour at a given point in time, compatible with national accounts measures of economic activity.

Beyond the formal employment and unemployment estimates, the Labour Force Survey and its regular supplementary surveys offer a much wider range of data about available labour resources. Information is regularly collected about under-employment and marginal attachment, as defined under the framework. Supplementary measures based on these data offer a broader view of the meaning and measurement of unemployment and underutilised labour.

A new questionnaire was introduced in the April 2001 Labour Force Survey. This, the first major redesign of the survey since 1978, resulted in some minor changes to key definitions and provided some additional data. The changes reflect contemporary labour market developments and international standards, and were put in place without breaking the comparability of the main data series. Labour Force Survey data in this publication are based on these new definitions.

Further Reading

Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (6102.0)
Discusses the concepts and definitions underpinning Australian labour statistics and the data sources and methods used in their collection and compilation. Explains what the statistics measure, how they relate to each other and how they are produced. On the ABS web site see About Statistics - Concepts and Classifications; while further information about the Labour Force Survey can also be found at Themes - Labour.

Labour Force, Australia, Preliminary (6202.0)
Monthly. Estimates of employment, unemployment, unemployment rate and labour force participation rate, classified by State and Territory, sex, age, school and tertiary attendance, full-time/part-time status. On the ABS web site, see Statistics - Employment and unemployment.

Underemployed Workers, Australia (6265.0)
Annual. The survey covers part-time workers who indicate that they would prefer to work more hours and full-time workers who did not work full-time hours in the reference period for economic reasons. These workers, who are not fully employed, are of great interest in studying underutilised labour. The survey collects information about the characteristics and job search activities of these groups.

Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (6220.0)
Annual. Contains estimates of persons not in the labour force, classified by whether they wanted to work, whether looked for work in the last 12 months, reasons for not actively looking for work, main activity, time since last job and details of that job. Characteristics of persons with marginal attachment to the labour force are also included.

Information Paper: Measures of Labour Underutilisation (6296.0)
Discusses ABS labour measures and proposes four indicators of labour underutilisation. Identifies and discusses the population groups, within the wider groups of unemployed, underemployed and marginally attached persons, that were used to develop these indicators.

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