6602.0 - Microdata: Longitudinal Labour Force, Australia, 2008-10 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/2012  First Issue
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Institutional Environment

Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA). This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs can be found on the About CURF Microdata page.

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.


Longitudinal microdata from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are available as a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) via the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL). The microdata contains information on labour force status, employment status, hours worked, underemployment status, industry and occupation of main/last job, income and earnings, unemployment status, duration of unemployment, not in the labour force (NILF) status, retirement status, as well as relevant standard demographic, family, educational, and other details and characteristics.

The level of detail provided for data items are available within the Data Item List. An Excel spreadsheet and a plain text file of the data item list is available in Downloads.


The Labour Force Survey has been conducted every month throughout Australia since February 1978.

For this first release, the 2008-10 Longitudinal LFS microdata has been released in December 2012, two years after the last period of enumeration. It is expected that future releases of the LLFS CURF will have similar lag times between enumeration and release, as sufficient time is required to collect and analyse all of the longitudinal panels, including the ones that commence in the last period of enumeration. For example, before the next release of 2011 LLFS microdata, the panel that spans December 2011 to July 2012 must first be collected and analysed, which results in at least an 8 month delay.

Furthermore, time is also required to establish stable estimates of population benchmarks before release. This is to ensure that estimates from the LLFS CURF remain coherent with the main Labour Force, Australia publications (cat. no. 6202.0, 6291.0.55.001 and 6291.0.55.003) and the final revised estimates of Estimated Resident Population (ERP) published in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).


The Labour Force Survey is based on a sample of private dwellings (approximately 29,000 houses, flats etc) and non-private dwellings, such as hotels and motels. The sample covers about 0.33% of the Australian civilian population aged 15 years or over. The Labour Force Survey is designed primarily to provide estimates of key labour force statistics for the whole of Australia and, secondarily, for each state and territory.

The longitudinal microdata generally contains finer levels of detail of data items than what is published in the main Labour Force, Australia publications (cat. no. 6202.0, 6291.0.55.001 and 6291.0.55.003). For more information on the level of detail provided, refer to the Data Item List.

Steps to confidentialise the data made available on the LLFS CURF are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents selected in the survey. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the microdata with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available in the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs (cat. no. 1406.0.55.003)


The ABS has been conducting the LFS each month since February 1978. While seeking to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires careful and continuing maintenance and development to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection.

The changes which have been made to the LFS have included changes in sampling methods, estimation methods, concepts, data item definitions, classifications, and time series analysis techniques. In introducing these changes the ABS has generally revised previous estimates to ensure consistency and coherence with current estimates. For a full list of changes made to the LFS, see Chapter 20 - Labour Force Survey in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

The only significant change to the LFS during 2008 to 2010 was the 24% reduction in the LFS sample size for the period July 2008 to August 2009, relative to the June 2008 sample size. The sample reduction was reversed from September 2009 to December 2009, with December 2009 estimates being the first produced under the fully reinstated sample. As a result, their is a reduced number of records and longitudinal panels in the LLFS CURF across this time period.


The information within this product should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information including Survey Methodology, File Structure, Using the CURF, Conditions of Use and the Data Item List.

Further information can also be found in the Understanding Labour Force article and the Explanatory Notes section of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), as well as the publication Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).


Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access the microdata should read the How to Apply for Microdata web page, before applying for access through MiCRO. Users should also familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata web pages.

A full list of available microdata can be viewed via the List of expected and available Microdata. More detail regarding types and modes of access to CURFs can be found on the CURF Access Modes and Levels of Detail web page.

The LLFS CURF can be accessed through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and the ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL).

Any questions regarding access to microdata can be forwarded to microdata.access@abs.gov.au or phone (02) 6252 7714.