Townsville Flood 2019 (Spreadsheets Table 02, Table 16, Table 16b, Table 16c)
Flooding in Townsville in February 2019 resulted in a major disruption to the operation of the Labour Force Survey. As a result, there was a very low sample of responding households in the region in February.
Given the severity of these disruptions, and to ensure that this loss of sample did not affect data for Australia and Queensland, the ABS imputed sample for Townsville for February 2019. The imputation drew upon previous information that had recently been collected from people in Townsville. The imputation may have resulted in a slight overestimation of hours worked in Queensland in February 2019, given hours worked in Townsville may have been lower during the floods.
Following the collection of March 2019 data from Townsville, the February data was re-assessed and has not been revised. The ABS will continue to monitor the data over coming months and in February 2020.
Users of the matched sample analysis should also exercise some caution when looking at Queensland data between January, February and March, given the effect of the imputation for Townsville.
During 2018, the ABS estimated that employed persons in Townsville accounted for around 1 per cent of all employed persons in Australia, around 4 per cent of employed persons in Queensland, and around 9 per cent of employed persons in the regions in Queensland outside of Brisbane.