6291.0.55.001 - Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Aug 2016 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/09/2016   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



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 July and August);
  • the unmatched common sample (respondents in August but who did not respond in July, or vice versa); and
  • the incoming rotation group (who replaced respondents who rotated out in July).

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 between July and August, 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.


In original terms, the incoming rotation group in August 2016 had a lower Employment to Population ratio than the group it replaced (62.5% in July and 60.8% in August), and was more in line with the sample as a whole (60.6% in August, down from 61.0% in July).

The proportion of employed people who were employed full-time was also lower than the group it replaced (69.2% of employed people were employed full-time in the outgoing rotation group in July, compared with 68.5% in the incoming rotation group in August). This was closer to the total sample, which decreased from 68.3% to 68.1%.

The incoming rotation group in August had a smaller share of the Civilian Population aged 15 and over than the group it replaced (12.1% in July and 11.5% in August).


In looking ahead to the September 2016 estimates, the outgoing rotation group in August 2016, which will be replaced by a new incoming rotation group in September, had a relatively low employment to population ratio (58.8% in August) compared to the sample as a whole (60.6% in August).

In addition to being relatively less employed, the unemployment rate for the outgoing rotation group in August was 6.0%, which was higher than the 5.6% for the total sample. The participation rate for the outgoing rotation group in August was 62.5%, also relatively low when compared with 64.2% for the sample as a whole.


As the gross flows and rotation group data are presented in original terms they are not directly comparable to the seasonally adjusted and trend 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 sampling variability, which is specifically adjusted for in the trend series. The trend data provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market and are the focus of the commentary in this publication.