6150.0.55.003 - Labour Account Australia, Quarterly Experimental Estimates, September 2017 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/07/2018  First Issue
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


This publication contains experimental estimates of the Australian Labour Account. The Australian Labour Account provides a conceptual framework through which existing labour market data from different sources can be confronted and integrated, with the aim of producing a coherent and consistent set of aggregate labour market statistics.

The Australian Labour Account is macroeconomic in scope, building on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamentals and expanding them to ensure consistency with the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA). It aims to extend the analytical capacity of national accounts data by providing a labour-specific lens.

The Australian Labour Account produces a set of statistical tables of employment related data that are consistent with the ASNA.


The Australian Labour Account tables are designed for use in macro-economic analysis. It is intended they will provide annual and quarterly data on a similar timetable and at a similar level of industry detail as the national accounts.


Different data sources have been used in compiling the four quadrants of the Australian Labour Account. In general, the same data sources have been used to compile both quarterly and annual labour account estimates. Quarterly survey estimates have also been benchmarked to annual survey estimates where possible.

Australian Labour Account data at an industry level are derived where possible from data classified by industry reported in both business and household surveys. Where Australian Labour Account data at an industry level are not reported in surveys, the industry detail has been modelled using alternative sources.

The Australian Labour Account uses both published and unpublished data from various sources. These are detailed in Appendix 2 of the Concepts, Sources and Methods 2018 manual. Where unpublished data sources are referenced, for example using an ABS catalogue number, this is intended to provide background information relating to the underlying survey data only. It is not intended that users be able to fully replicate published Australian Labour Account data.

After adjusting for conceptual and coverage differences between data sources, a statistical discrepancy remains between the number of filled jobs as reported by businesses and the number of filled jobs as reported by households.

These discrepancies represent the cumulative impact of data source error, including survey error, and modelling error. Survey error includes both sampling error and non-sampling error. Sampling error is the predictable variability arising from the use of samples, rather than a complete enumeration of the populations of enterprises and households. Non sampling error is all other error in the estimate, and includes error arising from the reliability of the survey population and related benchmark data and error made by respondents in reporting data. Further information on these issues can be found under Chapter 13 of the Concepts, Sources and Methods 2018 manual.


There are currently no international standards regarding the production of a labour account, however a four-step process has been documented by the ILO and was followed (to varying degrees) by the National Statistical Organisations in Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland in compiling their own labour accounts. The ILO process has been used as a guide in compiling the Australian Labour Account.

The ILO describes two approaches to compiling a labour account: a cross-sectional approach involving confrontation and reconciliation of key labour market measures, and a longitudinal approach which incorporates changes to population and labour force via births, deaths, and net migration, and includes measures such as duration of employment. The Australian Labour Account focuses on the cross-sectional approach (since this is the approach that supports data confrontation and reconciliation), and also provides a time-series dimension.

The development of the annual Australian Labour Account disaggregated by industry subdivision and division, and the quarterly Australian Labour Account disaggregated by industry division, provide an opportunity to significantly improve the quality of aggregates such as the number of jobs occupied within each industry, measures of hours worked, and labour productivity growth.


Contained within this release are Data Cubes, Main Features, Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes and a Glossary. For further reference we have also compiled the Australian Labour Account Concepts, Sources and Methods manual. These all provide information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.


Quarterly experimental estimates for the Australian Labour Account, September quarter 2010 to September quarter 2017 at the Division industry level is released electronically via the ABS website as Data Cubes in spreadsheet format. Thereafter annual experimental estimates for the Australian Labour Account, 2010–2011 to 2016–2017 at the Subdivision and Division industry level is released electronically via the ABS website as Data Cubes in spreadsheet format.

The ABS welcomes comments from users on the new methodologies and the usefulness of the resulting estimates for their analytical purposes. If you are interested in contributing to the ABS review, please contact Labour Market Section director on 02 6252 7988 or <labourmarket@abs.gov.au>.