1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Mar 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/03/2010   
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Ask Brian
The Statistician Answers Your Questions

Dear Statistician
I’ve been married for 15 years, but the gloss has worn off our relationship. What can we do to reignite the spark?
—Anxious In Applecross

Dear Anxious
The median length of marriage to divorce in 2008 was 12.3 years. Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3310.0). Looks like you are doing ok to me.

Dear Statistician
My boyfriend lost his job a few weeks back. Since then all he does is sit around and watch TV while I work to support us both. I know unemployment has undermined his confidence, but I’m not his mother! How do I get him out of the house and looking for work?
—Peeved In Palmyra

Dear Peeved
The Western Australian male unemployment rate for February 2010 was 4.9%, up slightly from January’s figure of 4.6% Labour Force, Australia, Dec 2009 (cat. no 6202.0). This equated to 34,400 males aged 15 and over out of work. This might seem like a lot but the WA male trend unemployment rate peaked in August 1992 at 92,100! Switch the TV off, there are jobs out there if he looks.

Dear Statistician
The uni students living next door are driving me nuts! Whenever they’re bored, they drop by my place unannounced, without so much as calling! My privacy is very important to me. How can I make it clear to them that these unexpected visits are totally unwelcome?
—Flummoxed In Floreat

Dear Flummoxed
Young people are typically one of the most mobile population groups. Just over half (52%) of all young people (i.e. people aged 15-24 years) moved residence in the five years to August 2001. Australian Social Trends, 2003 (cat. no. 4102.0). My guess is that if you just hang in there, they’ll move on before long. Best of luck.

Comparing Apples and Oranges - Agricultural Commodities WA Year Ended 30 June 2008

Dear Statistician
Recently my mates have been giving me a hard time about my car. It’s about 10 years old and I reckon it’s in pretty good nick, but they say it’s a museum piece and is painting me as a potential lawn bowler. Should I upgrade?
—Pondering in Prevally Park

Dear Pondering
The December 2009 seasonally adjusted estimate for total sales of new motor vehicles (89,741) increased by 3.3% when compared to November 2009 and a 17.2% increase when compared to the December 2008 estimate. Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia, Dec 2009 (cat. no. 9314.0). I think your mates might be on to something.

Dear Statistician
I’m due to go to dinner with my new girlfriend and her parents and am petrified I’ll expose my bogan upbringing. Can you tell me which piece of cutlery goes where and is it ok to eat chicken with your fingers?
—Baffled from Bicton

Dear Baffled
Usual practice is that any data with a standard error greater than 50% should not be published. Also be aware that the Average Weekly Earnings series and the Labour Price Index, though both concerned with wage movements, are not strictly comparable. As far as table etiquette goes, start from the outside and work inwards and ensure your ACDC T-shirt is clean.

For real answers to real statistical questions, contact the ABS National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Brian Pink Australian Statistician

Australian Statistician, Brian Pink