6105.0 - Australian Labour Market Statistics, Apr 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/04/2011   
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Contents >> Current Activities >> Labour Household Survey Program Review



It has been many years since a holistic review of the labour household survey program has been undertaken. Over recent years there have been many changes to the structure of the labour market and the nature of work. Many of the labour surveys have origins in the late 1970s and 1980s, and as a result they may, to some extent, reflect an outdated view of work and the labour market, and the interest therein.

Ad hoc and survey-specific reviews have been conducted from time to time to maintain the relevance of the program, but it is timely for a holistic review to be undertaken to ensure ABS labour statistics continue to deliver high quality, coherent, conceptually robust and relevant statistics into the future.

This review has recently commenced and is considering a range of issues around relevance, coherence and relative priority of topics and data items. An important element of the review will be seeking feedback from a range of users.


The labour household survey program comprises the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS), as well as a number of labour-related supplementary survey and Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) topics which are run in conjunction with the LFS.

The LFS provides key indicators of the labour market, including: monthly estimates relating to employment, unemployment, participation, hours worked, and labour force transitions (gross flows); and quarterly estimates relating to underemployment and underutilisation, industry and occupation.

Data are released monthly in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), with more detailed monthly data released in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) and detailed quarterly data released in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003).

The labour supplementary survey and labour MPHS topics aim to provide more detailed information on labour market issues and/or population groups of interest, to complement and extend on the information collected in the LFS on a monthly and quarterly basis.

The following labour topics are currently included within the labour supplementary surveys program:

    The following labour topics are included within the labour MPHS program (collected on a financial year basis):

    There are other sub-topics which are included within the topics identified above (e.g. detailed benefits module collected six-yearly within the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership survey; Labour Hire module collected three-yearly within the Forms of Employment Survey). There are other also other supplementary survey and MPHS topics that contain some labour-related data, such as the Survey of Education and Work, however these are not included within the scope of this review.


    • This review aims to make improvements to the labour household survey program to ensure:
    • labour program content, and frequency, is based on key priorities and requirements;
    • the data are more integrated and coherent, to ensure interrelated data are collected together;
    • the conceptual underpinnings are robust and coherent, and reflect contemporary interest in labour market issues; and
    • duplication of content is minimised.

    This review is primarily focussed on the content of the labour supplementary survey and multi-purpose household survey topics, including the interrelationships between the topics, and between each of the topics and the LFS, and their timing and frequency.

    However, the mix of content between these surveys and information collected in the core monthly and quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS), as well as the extent to which the current LFS contains the key contemporary labour market indicators, will also be considered. This is to ensure that any directions on future content be considered in a holistic way - as a labour household survey information set - rather than being constrained on the basis of the existing content of current surveys.


    Comments or suggestions from users on any aspects of the content of the labour household survey program are welcomed.

    In particular, there are a number of key issues and questions relevant to this review, for which feedback from users would be useful, including:

    • what are the priorities for the labour supplementary survey and MPHS topics (e.g. what are the most/least important topics)?
    • what are the most important elements within those topics, and at what frequency are they required?
    • whether there are key data items that need to be collected more frequently (e.g. underemployment)?
    • what are the key linkages (existing and missing) (e.g. earnings and education, earnings and working arrangements, job search and job mobility, unemployment and underemployment)?
    • are there any key data gaps, across LFS and/or the labour supplementary survey and MPHS topics?
    • how important is the current timing of the collection of labour supplementary survey topics (e.g. Job Search Experience in July, Labour Mobility in February, etc.)?

    Once the review is complete, information will be provided about any changes to the labour household survey program and the timing for implementation of these changes.

    Submissions to the review can be emailed to <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>. For more information on the review, please contact Michael Gerrity on (02) 6252 5514 or email <m.gerrity@abs.gov.au>.

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