6348.0.55.001 - Labour Costs, Australia, 2002-03
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/06/2004
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RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES

1 As the estimates in this publication are based on information relating to a sample of employers rather than a full enumeration, they are subject to sampling variability, that is, they may differ from the estimates that would have been produced if the information had been obtained from all employers. This difference, called sampling error, should not be confused with inaccuracy that may occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents or in processing by the ABS. Such inaccuracy is referred to as non-sampling error and may occur in any enumeration whether it be a full count or a sample. Efforts have been made to reduce non-sampling error by careful design of questionnaires, detailed checking of returns and quality control of processing.

2 The sampling error associated with any estimate can be estimated from the sample results. One measure of sampling error is given by the standard error which indicates the degree to which an estimate may vary from the value that would have been obtained from a full enumeration (the ‘true’ figure). There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate differs from the true value by less than one standard error, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

3 Another measure of the sampling variability is the relative standard error, which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate. Both the standard error and relative standard error are used to measure the reliability of estimates.

4 If the standard error of an estimate is large relative to the size of the estimate, the usefulness of that estimate is seriously impaired. For the tables in this publication, estimates with relative standard errors greater than 25% of the estimate have been labelled with an asterisk and should be used with caution.

5 Relative standard errors of estimates of level are shown in Table A for states and territories and in Table B for industries.

6 An example of the use of a relative standard error is as follows: Table 1 shows that the earnings for New South Wales is \$109,807.1 million. The relative standard error, as shown in the following table is 1.6%. This means that there are about two chances in three that a complete enumeration would have given a figure within 1.6% of \$109,807.1 million, i.e. within the range \$108,050.2 million to \$111,564.0 million.

 Table A: RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS, States/territories Earnings Superannuation Payroll tax Workers' compensation Fringe benefits tax Total labour costs % % % % % % New South Wales 1.6 2.0 2.3 3.0 6.2 1.6 Victoria 1.8 2.5 2.5 3.7 5.9 1.8 Queensland 2.3 3.0 3.4 5.0 7.1 2.3 South Australia 2.8 3.3 3.6 7.8 5.5 2.8 Western Australia 3.1 3.6 6.9 3.6 6.4 3.2 Tasmania 3.6 5.6 4.9 7.9 6.7 3.7 Northern Territory 2.8 3.3 3.8 4.6 6.6 2.8 Australian Capital Territory 2.4 2.0 7.1 5.7 7.8 2.3 Australia 0.9 1.2 1.4 1.8 3.2 0.9
 Table B: RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS, Industry Earnings Superannuation Payroll tax Workers' compensation Fringe benefits tax Total labour costs % % % % % % Mining 2.9 2.6 3.4 5.3 3.0 2.8 Manufacturing 2.8 3.5 3.3 5.6 6.4 2.8 Electricity, gas & water supply 2.7 1.9 2.3 6.2 2.2 2.6 Construction 5.4 7.5 8.2 7.6 19.4 5.4 Wholesale trade 3.8 5.9 6.2 6.1 11.7 3.9 Retail trade 2.4 3.1 3.6 3.9 10.8 2.4 Accommodation, cafes & restaurants 4.1 4.3 6.9 5.6 17.8 4.1 Transport & storage 3.6 3.9 4.1 5.9 9.8 3.5 Communication services 3.0 8.6 2.3 6.0 1.7 3.0 Finance & insurance 3.9 4.4 4.5 5.0 11.2 3.8 Property & business services 3.6 4.4 6.5 6.2 10.2 3.6 Government administration & defence 1.6 1.6 3.5 2.4 2.1 1.5 Education 1.4 1.3 1.0 2.2 4.9 1.4 Health & community services 2.0 3.2 9.7 4.9 10.9 2.0 Cultural & recreational serices 5.6 5.8 10.5 6.0 15.1 5.6 Personal & other services 2.9 3.0 3.4 4.6 14.4 2.8 All industries 0.9 1.2 1.4 1.8 3.2 0.9