The Labour Statistics Program provides evidence to support labour market, economic and social analysis through the provision of high quality labour statistics in a timely, efficient and effective manner. The program provides information about the structure and performance of the labour market, including statistics on labour supply (such as labour force participation, employment, hours worked, unemployment and labour underutilisation); labour demand (job vacancies); employment conditions and working arrangements; employee earnings and labour costs; and workplace relations.
Labour statistics are used extensively in the analysis, evaluation, and monitoring of the economy; the labour market; and a wide range of government policies and programs (such as those relating to employment, income support and workplace relations). Statistics on labour costs and aggregate hours worked are also used in compiling the Australian National Accounts.
The main clients of the program are Australian government agencies (including the Treasury; the Reserve Bank of Australia; the Fair Work Commission; the Productivity Commission; the Commonwealth Grants Commission and the Departments of Employment; Education and Social Services); state and territory government agencies; industry associations; trade unions and academic researchers.
Key statistics on labour supply; including labour force participation; employment; unemployment; underutilisation and hours worked are published either monthly in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) and Labour Force, Australia detailed electronic delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001); or quarterly in Labour Force, Australia, detailed quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003). Statistics on particular aspects of labour supply; such as labour mobility; underemployment; job search experience; retirement and retirement intentions; barriers and incentives to labour force participation; and marginal attachment to the labour force; are published periodically.
Statistics on job vacancies, i.e. unmet demand for labour, are released quarterly in Job Vacancies, Australia (cat. no. 6354.0). Statistics on characteristics of employees' working arrangements; working time arrangements; forms of employment; independent contracting; and labour hire are also published periodically. Statistics about industrial relations include quarterly industrial disputes, and trade union membership and award and agreement coverage every two years.
Statistics on average weekly earnings of employees are released biannually in Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0). Employee earnings data are available annually together with employment and demographic characteristics. Earnings and employment data for the public sector are available annually. Distributional data on employee earnings and hours, and occupational earnings are available every two years. Data on major labour costs are produced on an infrequent basis.
The publication Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) is produced on an irregular basis and supports the release of analytical data series, such as volume measures of labour underutilisation, and feature articles on current labour market issues.
The program also manages infrastructure and generalised processes required for running household collections, supports social statistics programs in their use of these facilities and leads the programs in preparing for future corporate infrastructure and generalised processes.
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- implement the recommendations from a review of the content of the labour household survey program - progressively from July 2014 to May 2015
- assess the feasibility of recommendations from the conceptual review of the Industrial Disputes collection and determine an implementation plan - due December 2014
- assess the relative priorities for employer-based labour statistics to inform a proposal for developing a new integrated labour employer collection from 2018 - due March 2015
- as part of a proposal to develop improved annual estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, assess alternative estimation methods for remote communities included in the Labour Force Survey - due by June 2015
- determine the implications for ABS labour statistics of the 2013 International Labour Organisation standards for work, employment and labour underutilisation statistics - due July 2015
- develop a conceptual model for an Australian Labour Account - due December 2015
- develop additional conceptual frameworks for labour market statistics (including for workplace relations, non-standard working arrangements and marginal attachment) and a core set of statistical standards for labour household and business survey data items - due June 2016
- develop a conceptual model for a Linked Employer-Employee Dataset and identify administrative datasets that can be incorporated - due December 2016.