6232.0 - Information Paper: Questionnaires Used in the Labour Force Survey, July 2014  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/12/2014   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

GUIDELINES FOR FOLLOWING THE LABOUR FORCE SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE

OVERVIEW

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire may appear formidable if simply read through from beginning to end. However, only a subset of the questions are asked of each person. The sequencing built into the questionnaire ensures that only questions appropriate to each person's labour force experience are asked. People who complete the questionnaire online are only asked questions applicable to them based on their answers to previous questions.

Sequencing through the questionnaire is identified by the To question column of the attached questionnaire as well as sequence guides. Sequence guides are referenced throughout the questionnaire and can be identified with the prefix of SG (for example: see SG15 of the questionnaire).

The questionnaire, available from the Downloads tab, is used for all months of the year. The months February, May, August and November are known as quarter months and sequencing for the quarter months is different to non-quarter months (see SG15 of the attached questionnaire). Additional information collected in quarter months includes:

    • Employed persons:
      • industry and occupation (questions 75—77);
      • leave entitlements (questions 78—79);
      • job tenure (questions 80—84); and
      • retrenchment (questions 108—110);
    • Unemployed persons:
      • industry and occupation of last job (questions 99—101); and
      • retrenchment (questions 105—107);
    • Persons not in the labour force:
      • retrenchment (questions 105—107).

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire numbers are not in sequential order. This allows for future changes to the LFS questionnaire without having to reorder the entire questionnaire.

In the February, May and August months, supplementary survey questions are attached to the main labour force questionnaire. When all of the appropriate labour force questions have been asked in relation to a householder, the interview is sequenced to the supplementary survey questions if the householder is in the relevant target population.

Each month, a selected householder from each household in the outgoing rotation group is asked additional questions as part of the Multi Purpose Household Survey. These questions are asked after the Labour Force questions have been completed for all members of the household.

Questions 1—18

These questions comprise the Household form and collect demographic and survey control information. Please note that the Household form (questions 1—18) is not included in the attached LFS questionnaire.


Questions 19—25

Filter questions to identify those most likely to be employed (people who respond 'yes' to questions 19–21), to identify those most likely to be unemployed (people who answer 'yes' to questions 22–25), and to determine the majority of persons not in the labour force.


Questions 26—84

Identify employed persons and obtain information on employment characteristics, including actual and usual hours worked, underemployment, occupation and industry, leave entitlements and job tenure.


Questions 85—102

Identify unemployed persons and obtain information on unemployment related characteristics, including duration of job search, occupation, industry and reasons for leaving last job.


Questions 105—110

Identify all people who have left or lost a job in the last three months and the reasons for leaving their job, to provide information on retrenchments.


Questions 111—121

Identify people's educational qualification and determine their current study status. i.e. whether currently studying full-time, part-time or not at all. These questions are only asked of a respondent once during their time first month in the survey, unless their responses indicate that a person has changed their educational qualifications.


IDENTIFYING LABOUR FORCE STATUS

Labour force status is derived by asking a series of questions about a person's work related activities in the reference period. Some guidelines for identifying labour force status from the current questionnaire are provided below.


Identifying employed persons from the questionnaire

Persons who respond (in questions 19 to 21) that they worked in a job, business or farm, or in a family business without pay, or that they had a job they were away from in the reference week, are sequenced to further questions that confirm their status as employed. Although people will be sequenced through various question paths as applicable to their labour force experience, employed people can be identified from the questionnaire when one of the following conditions is met:
    • the person worked in a job, business or farm, or in a family business without pay, for one hour or more in the reference week, as reported in question 46; or
    • the person was away from work during the reference week (or worked less than one hour during the reference week), but maintained job attachment in the reference week (see employed definition), and usually works one hour or more, as determined in question 69B.


Identifying unemployed persons from the questionnaire

Persons who did not have a job but had been looking for work in the four weeks to the end of the reference week (as reported in questions 22 and 23), and people who, although they report that they have a job, fail to satisfy the employed criteria as specified above, are sequenced to further questions to determine if they are unemployed. In order for a person to be classified as unemployed, one of the following conditions must be met:
    • the person took an active step to find work in the four weeks to the end of the reference week, that is, they answer 'yes' to one of question 88 A to C, F, G or H (1 to 2), and the person was available to start work in the reference week (including 'Don't know' responses), determined by question 89; or
    • the person was waiting to start a job they had already obtained, as reported in question 24, 90 or 93; and would be starting that work within four weeks, as reported in question 91 or 94; and could have started in the reference week if the work had been available then, as reported in question 95.


Identifying persons not in the labour force from the questionnaire

Most people not in the labour force are identified at the beginning of the questionnaire, so that they are not asked questions that do not apply to them. These people are identified in the questionnaire as follows:
    • institutionalised persons and boarding school pupils as identified in question 6 of the Household Form. These people are part of the broader Special Dwelling sample for which separate collection arrangements apply; or
    • persons permanently unable to work as identified in question 19; or
    • persons aged 65 years or over who respond that they are permanently not intending to work in questions 19 to 23; or
    • persons who did not do any work in the reference week, and were not away from a job in the reference week, and had not looked for any work in the four weeks to the end of the reference week, and were not waiting to start a job they had already obtained. These people answer 'no' to questions 19 to 24.

The balance of people who are not in the labour force are identified later in the questionnaire, if they have failed to meet all the criteria to be classified as either employed or unemployed. Specifically:
    • persons identified in the filter questions (19 to 23) as likely to be employed or unemployed, but not confirmed by further questions; and not waiting to start a job they had already obtained, as reported in question 93.
    • persons waiting to start a job they had already obtained, but not within the next four weeks, at question 91 or 94.
    • persons waiting to start a job they had already obtained and would be starting that work within four weeks, but could not have started in the reference week if the work has been available then, as reported in question 95.


QUESTIONNAIRE CONVENTIONS

Different type faces are used throughout the questionnaire to indicate to interviewers how the questions should be asked. The conventions used in the questionnaire are outlined below:
    • Italics are used for all information and clarification to interviewers and are not read out to respondents;
    • Round brackets '( )' are used to separate parts of the question that only need to be asked if applicable to the person, based on previous question responses;
    • Underline is used to add emphasis to particular word/s in a question; and
    • Response categories to questions are also not read out to respondents.

The LFS is conducted on the basis that any responsible adult (ARA) should usually be able to answer the questions on behalf of all other household members. In the questionnaire, square brackets [ ], are used to identify different wording of a question depending on whom the respondent is answering the questions of. For example, 'your/name's', 'you/him/her', may be appropriate references.