6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, May 2020 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/06/2020   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

INSIGHTS FROM THE ORIGINAL DATA


SAMPLE COMPOSITION

The Labour Force Survey sample can be thought of as comprising eight sub-samples (or rotation groups), with each sub-sample remaining in the survey for eight months, and one rotation group "rotating out" each month and being replaced by a new group "rotating in". This sample rotation is important in ensuring that seven-eighths of the sample are common from one month to the next, to ensure that changes in the estimates reflect real changes in the labour market, rather than the sample. In addition, the replacement sample is generally selected from the same geographic areas as the outgoing one, as part of a representative sampling approach.

When considering movements in the original estimates, it is possible to decompose the sample into three components:

  • the matched common sample (survey respondents who responded in both April and May);
  • the unmatched common sample (survey respondents who responded in May but who did not respond in April, or vice versa); and
  • the incoming rotation group (survey respondents who replaced respondents who rotated out in April).

The detailed decomposition of each of these movements is included in the data cube 'Insights From the Original Data'.

In considering the three components of the sample, it is important to remember that the matched common sample describes the change observed for the same respondents in April and May, while the other two components reflect differences between the aggregate labour force status of different groups of people.

While the rotation groups are designed to be representative of the population, the outgoing and incoming rotation groups will almost always have somewhat different characteristics, as a result of the groups representing a sample of different households and people. The design of the survey, including the weighting and estimation processes, ensures that these differences are generally relatively minor and seeks to ensure that differences in characteristics of rotation groups do not affect the representativeness of the survey and its estimates. Monthly estimates are always designed to be representative of their respective months, regardless of the relative contribution of the three components of the sample.


COVID-19 AND THE INCOMING ROTATION GROUPS IN APRIL AND MAY

With the suspension of face-to-face interviews late in March 2020, falls in response to the Labour Force were seen in April (around 1000 dwellings), and May (a further 250 dwellings). Given the fall in responses in the incoming rotation group in April, the ABS decided to reduce the influence of the incoming rotation group, as part of the standard survey estimation methods. The ABS has undertaken further analysis of the April incoming rotation group, and also the May incoming rotation group. Following this analysis, both incoming rotation groups have been given full weight in the May 2020 Labour Force release, following the application of an extra weighting treatment to account for a small degree of bias detected in the data, related to slightly higher than usual non-response.


INCOMING ROTATION GROUP IN MAY

In original terms, the incoming rotation group in May 2020 had a lower employment to population ratio than the group it replaced (59.3% in May 2020, compared to 59.5% in April 2020), and was higher than the sample as a whole (58.7%). The incoming rotation group had a lower full-time employment to population ratio than the group it replaced (41.1% in May 2020, compared to 41.6% in April 2020), and was higher than the sample as a whole (41.0%).

The incoming rotation group had a higher unemployment rate than the group it replaced (7.2% in May 2020, compared to 5.9% in April 2020), and was higher than the sample as a whole (6.9%). The incoming rotation group had a higher participation rate than the group it replaced (63.8% in May 2020, compared to 63.3% in April 2020), and was higher than the sample as a whole (63.1%).


OUTGOING ROTATION GROUP IN MAY

In looking ahead to the June 2020 estimates, in original terms, the outgoing rotation group in May 2020, that will be replaced by a new incoming rotation group in June 2020, had an employment to population ratio in May 2020 of 58.5%, lower than the sample as a whole (58.7%). The outgoing rotation group in May 2020 had a higher full-time employment to population ratio (41.1%) than the sample as a whole (41.0%).

The outgoing rotation group in May 2020 had a lower unemployment rate (6.6%) compared to the sample as a whole (6.9%). The outgoing rotation group in May 2020 had a lower participation rate (62.6%) compared to the sample as a whole (63.1%).


THE IMPORTANCE OF SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

As the gross flows and rotation group data are presented in original terms they are not directly comparable to the seasonally adjusted data discussed elsewhere in the commentary, and are included to provide additional information for the original data. Since the original data are unadjusted, they have a considerable level of inherent seasonal patterns, which is specifically adjusted for in the seasonally adjusted series.