DEFINITIONS USED IN THE LABOUR FORCE SURVEY
THE LABOUR FORCE FRAMEWORK
The labour force framework classifies the in-scope population according to their labour force status (that is, employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force). The employed and unemployed categories together make up the labour force, which gives a measure of the number of persons contributing to, or willing to contribute to, the supply of labour at the time of the survey.
Labour force definitions used by the ABS align closely with international standards and guidelines as specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The definitions of employed, unemployed and not in the labour force used by the ABS are outlined below. More detailed concepts and definitions may be obtained from Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).
Employed persons are those aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:
- worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or
- worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
- were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
- away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
- away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
- away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
- on strike or locked out; or
- on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job; or
- were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.
persons are those aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the reference week, and:
NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE
- had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week; or
- were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week, and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.
Persons not in the labour force
are those aged 15 years and over who are neither employed nor unemployed. Those not in the labour force include persons who are:
- retired or voluntarily inactive;
- performing home duties or caring for children;
- attending an educational institution;
- experiencing a long-term health condition or disability;
- experiencing a short-term illness or injury;
- looking after an ill or disabled person;
- on a travel, holiday or leisure activity;
- working in an unpaid voluntary job;
- in institutions (hospitals, jails, sanatoriums, etc.);
- permanently unable to work; and
- members of contemplative religious orders.