6291.0.55.003 - Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Nov 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/12/2015   
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Data on public and private sector of main job have been collected every three months in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) from August 2014 onwards. Prior to this, these data were available through the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (cat. no. 6310.0) and Working Time Arrangements (cat. no. 6342.0) supplementary survey publications.

The provision of more frequent estimates of sector of main job was identified in the review of Labour Force statistics, as detailed in Outcomes of the Labour Household Surveys Content Review (cat. no. 6107.0). These data are important in understanding the public and private sector components of the labour market and their contributions to the economy.

Sector (public/private) of main job is used to classify a respondent's employer as a public or private enterprise. The public sector includes all government units, such as government departments, non-market non-profit institutions that are controlled and mainly financed by government, and corporations and quasi-corporations that are controlled by government. Private sector refers to enterprises that are not controlled by Commonwealth, state/territory or local governments (i.e. any enterprise that is not part of the public sector). More information on public and private sector is available in Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) (cat. no. 1218.0).

Sector (public/private) of main job is derived from the industry and business name collected in the LFS. A small number of responses are coded to "sector not further defined" as a result of insufficient information, and are considered private sector jobs.

Sector (public/private) of main job in the LFS has a broader scope than that of the supplementary surveys, as it includes Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs), while the supplementary surveys excluded OMUEs from their scope. These new LFS estimates and those from supplementary surveys also differ as the supplementary surveys are not conducted on the full LFS scope or sample (presently they are run on at most seven eighths of the sample). As a result, there maybe small differences between sector of main job estimates from supplementary surveys and those from the LFS. Also, estimates from the LFS are periodically revised to reflect the latest population benchmarks, whereas time series data from supplementary surveys have not normally been revised.

Information on public and private sector of main job are available from the November 2015 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003) in tables 26a, 26b, 27 and 28.

The graph below compares estimates of the proportion of workers in the public sector over time from both the LFS and previous supplementary surveys. In November 2015, 13% of employed people had a main job in the public sector, and 87% in the private sector.

Graph showing public sector employment

The difference in the two data series is primarily due to the inclusion of OMUES.