1504.0 - Methodological News, Dec 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2007   
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An Improved Seasonally-adjusted and Annual Total Estimates for Hours Worked Time Series

Last year the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) produced improved estimates of total actual annual hours worked by Australians. The estimates were based on the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) which collects hours worked information from a reference week. The estimates were calculated by using time series intervention analysis to estimate observable holiday effects from the reference weeks and then imputing unobservable holiday effects for the non-reference weeks. The improved total actual annual hours worked estimates have been implemented in the Australian National Accounts and used as an input to Australian labour productivity measures.

Currently, there is strong demand from users for improved annual and quarterly seasonally adjusted actual hours worked estimates for each of the 17 industry divisions in the Australian and New Zealand System of Industry Classification (ANZSIC). These estimates will enable users to make better inter-industry comparisons of productivity growth. However, the methodology for Australian annual hours worked is unlikely to work well at each of the 17 divisions. The primary reason is that only quarterly LFS hours worked information is available at the ANZSIC division level. Very few holiday effects are observed in quarterly interval time series, therefore the observable holiday effects cannot be estimated reliably.

A proposed alternative methodology based on temporal and spatial reconciliation is being applied to the annual and seasonally adjusted quarterly series. This methodology preserves the additivity of quarterly seasonally adjusted and annual total estimates between the 17 divisions and the Australian total.

It is expected that the improved annual estimates will be published in the 2007-2008 Annual National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0) while the improved seasonally adjusted quarterly estimates will be published in the December quarter edition of the quarterly national accounts (cat. no. 5206.0).

For more information on this project, please contact Noel Hansen on (02) 6252 7053 or Mark Zhang on (02) 6252 5132.