6226.0.00.001 - Microdata: Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/08/2020   
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This document was added or updated on 07/07/2021.

Using TableBuilder

For general information relating to the TableBuilder or instructions on how to use features of the TableBuilder product, please refer to the 
TableBuilder, User Guide (cat. no. 1406.0.55.005).

More specific information applicable to the Participation, Job Search and Mobility (PJSM) survey TableBuilder, which should enable users to understand, interpret and tabulate the data, is outlined below.

Confidentiality features in TableBuilder

In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, all the data in TableBuilder are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. This confidentiality process is undertaken to avoid releasing information that may allow the identification of particular individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses.

Processes used in TableBuilder to confidentialise records include the following:

  • perturbation of data; and
  • table suppression

Perturbation effects

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustments of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.


The introduction of these random adjustments result in tables not adding up. As a result, randomly adjusted individual cells will be consistent across tables, but the totals in any table will not be the sum of the individual cell values. The size of the difference between summed cells and the relevant total will generally be very small.


Please be aware that the effects of perturbing the data may result in components being larger than their totals. This includes determining proportions.


Table suppression

Some tables generated within TableBuilder may contain a substantial proportion of very low counts within cells (excluding cells that have counts of zero). When this occurs, all values within the table are suppressed in order to preserve confidentiality. The following error message below is displayed (in red) at the bottom of the table when table suppression has occurred.


ERROR: The table has been suppressed as it is too sparse
ERROR: table cell values have been suppressed

Counting units and weights

Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each record. The weight is the value that indicates how many population units are represented by each sample unit.


To produce estimates for the in-scope population you must use a weight field in your tables. In TableBuilder they can be found under the Summation Options category in the left hand pane under the applicable level. If you do not select a weight field, TableBuilder will apply 'Person weight' by default. This will give you estimates of the number of persons.


If you are estimating the number of persons with certain characteristics (e.g. 'Number of non–school qualifications completed') the weight listed under the category heading 'Person level weighting' must be used.


When creating a table a default Summation Item will need to be the Reference year as this item will provide data for the relevant year. This item will then be used for time-series purposes as future data becomes available.


Selecting data items for cross-tabulation

The Person level contains a range of data items detailing the characteristics of respondents
including demographic, education, labour force, participation, job search, mobility and population variables.

Populations and data items

When adding a data item to a table, it should be noted that not all respondents to the survey may be associated with than data item.
For example, the data item “Main difficulty in finding work” only applies to people who looked for work. The “Not applicable” category for this item has been labelled as “Did not look for work” to indicate that only people who looked for work were asked about any difficulties in finding work.

Similarly, if users want to add multiple data items to a table they should ensure that these data items are applicable to the same population group.

For more information about data items, users should refer to the PJSM TableBuilder Data Items List available from the
Downloads tab.

Cross-tabulating Data items on the same level


Cross-tabulating data from the Person Level with other data items from the same level will produce data about people. For example, cross-tabulating the geographic variable 'State or territory of usual residence' by the 'Hours usually worked in main job' produces a table showing the number of people in each region by the hours that they usually work each week in their main job.


Multi-response data items

A number of the survey's data items allow respondents to report more than one response. These are referred to as 'multi–response data items'. An example of such a data item is pictured below. For this data item respondents can report all the difficulties they had in finding work.


An image of the Tablebuilder menu that shows the selection of multi-response items

When a multi–response data item is tabulated, a person is counted against each response they have provided (e.g. a person who responds 'Studying or returning to studies' and 'Caring for ill or elderly person/family member' and 'Problems with access to transport' will be counted once in each of these three categories).


As a result, each person in the appropriate population is counted at least once, and some people are counted multiple times. Therefore, the total for a multi–response data item will be less than or equal to the sum of its components.


For more information on definitions and concepts that apply to the data items in this file, please refer to 
Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6226.0) and Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


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